The government has prepared a plan to regulate the aviation industry in order to avoid a recurrence of the situation with VIM-Avia. Rosaviatsii proposed to transfer full control over the air complex, in addition, will be strengthened supervision of carriers.
The effect of VIM-Avia
The functions of the Ministry of Transport and the Federal Air Transport Agency are proposed to be redistributed, giving the agency the necessary powers and responsibility for the functioning of the aviation complex, the draft of the “Plan of measures aimed at increasing the responsibility of carriers and tour operators to passengers”, which is available to RBC.
This plan was developed by the Transport Commission, headed by Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich, who oversees transport, RBC told a source that is part of this commission. A representative of Dvorkovich told RBC that according to this plan a report will be made in the government next week. She refused more detailed comments.
At the same time, the representative of the Ministry of Transport told RBC that “there is no talk of redistributing responsibilities between the Ministry of Transport and the Federal Air Transport Agency”. “The draft plan of measures submitted to the government for consideration is aimed exclusively at strengthening the responsibility of air carriers and tour operators to passengers,” he said. In accordance with the plan, Rosaviatsia will have to closely monitor the activities of airlines on an ongoing basis, the Ministry of Transport underlines.
The development of the plan began after the collapse of VIM-Avia at the end of September: the airline was faced with financial problems, as a result of which tens of thousands of its passengers could not return in time from abroad. The situation had to interfere with President Vladimir Putin – at a government meeting he arranged for Dvoorkovich and Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov to be carried away, demanding that passengers be returned to Russia as quickly as possible. Putin also instructed “to submit proposals to resolve the situation as a whole, to strengthen regulatory and legal regulation of this field of activity, to increase the responsibility of carriers.”
According to the source of RBC, the draft of this plan was generally approved by all members of the commission. The representative of Rosaviatsia declined to comment. The airline “Aeroflot”, “Russia”, the S7, “Ural Airlines”, “Nordavia” also did not respond to requests to RBC.
Takeoff of Rosaviation
The financial and economic, technical and personnel control over air carriers will be strengthened. This proposal will require amendments to the Federal Aviation Regulations, which will increase the base for decision-making on the suspension or revocation of an air operator certificate
This may not just be about giving Rosaviatsia new powers, but about the formation of a fundamentally new executive body, says Ilya Zharskiy, managing partner of the VETA expert group. According to him, perhaps, it means the final transfer of responsibility, authority and competence in the aviation sphere from the Ministry of Transport and Rostransnadzor to Rosaviatsia. The expert calls this step logical, because now the functions of the ministry, the federal service and the agency are partly duplicated. Because of this, in the stressful situations for the market, the operative solution of tasks is difficult – for example, the removal of passengers after the termination of Transaero flights in the fall of 2015 and VIM-Avia in late September 2017, he said.
It is not about the redistribution of responsibilities between the Transport Ministry and Rosaviatsia, the representative of the Ministry of Transport told RBC. But he acknowledged that in accordance with the developed plan Rosaviatsiya should be more closely, on a regular basis to monitor the activities of airlines.
Zharsky reminds that now the Ministry of Transport is endowed with “colossal powers related to civil aviation”. Among them – the establishment of rules for the transportation of passengers, baggage, cargo, the formation of tariffs, state registration and state registration of civil aircraft, reconstruction of checkpoints, etc.
The head of the portal “Airport” Oleg Panteleyev believes that it will be of great importance “how zealously the officials of the supervisory agency will dig and how willing they will turn a blind eye to those or other problems of airlines.” At the same time, he notes that in the proposals there is not a single measure that raises the “profitability and stability of the airline business”. According to him, the instruments available to Rosaviatsii – the suspension of the operator’s certificate or its cancellation – are punitive and do not allow the situation to be rectified.
Details of the plan
The changes will affect the airports – in the document it is suggested that in the event of a delay in the flight, they shift to providing passengers with food, accommodation in hotels, etc.
“The legal, organizational and financial-economic grounds for this initiative are absent,” the representative of Domodedovo airport told RBC.
“This proposal does not suit us, to put it mildly,” the executive director of the International Association of Airports Sergey Nikotin commented on the proposal. According to him, in accordance with Russian legislation and international practice, all relations between civil aviation and the passenger are determined by the relevant agreement in the form of a ticket sold by the airline. “Only the airline is responsible for air transportation and providing the passenger with necessary services, including meals or accommodation in case of unforeseen situations,” he said. – Provision of these services is non-core for airports. It is quite obvious that if such encumbrances are placed on airports, this will require significant costs. ”
At Sheremetyevo and the airport holding “Basel Aero” declined to comment.
The control over the tour operators will be increased by introducing an e-ticket mechanism that will make sure that the passenger has tickets in both directions. The problem with dishonest tour operators became known at the end of September: it turned out that the majority of tourists who could not return to Russia because of the problems of VIM-Avia had no return tickets.
Sergei Tolchin, Deputy General Director of Intourist, says that the observance of the rights of tourists should certainly be in the first place, but if the tour operator does not fulfill its obligations to the tourist through no fault of its own, but through the fault of the airline, then severe sanctions should be applied to the airline, and not to the tour operator.
In order to take passengers to VIM-Avia, at the end of September, the Ministry of Transport set up a special operational headquarters, and Aeroflot allocated funds to transport regular flights of this airline. The tour operators had to return the charter passengers of VIM-Avia to Russia at their own expense.
Authors: Vasily Marinin, Valeriya Komarova, Mariya Makutina
Article in Russian: RBC Dayly