Saratov Airlines revealed it will suspend all services at the end of May after the Russian aviation authority said it intended to revoke the carrier’s Air Operator Certificate. The troubled airline, which is currently flying under a temporary licence, has been instructed by Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency, Rosaviatsia, “not to book and issue tickets” – on its own or on behalf of tour operators – for flights after May 30.
The action comes barely three months after the fatal loss of Saratov-operated Antonov An-148 RA-61704 (c/n 27015040004) shortly after take-off from Moscow/Domodedovo in February. The subsequent investigation led the Rosaviatsia to ground the airline’s remaining fleet of An-148s while the authority previously limited the validity of its AOC, initially to April 27 and then to May 30, while the airline worked to address shortcomings in its operation.
Responding to the withdrawal of its AOC, Saratov said it has “taken all measures” to correct the issues uncovered by the inspections, noting Rosaviatsia’s decision has “condemned to death one of the oldest airlines in Russia”. It added: “The airline considers the resolution to be a cancellation of its AOC. Respectively, the management of Saratov Airlines has made the decision to suspend operations and is forced to lay off its staff of 1,200 highly qualified specialists from July 18.”