Friday, 18 May 2018

Saratov Airlines to close

The troubled Saratov Airlines looks ready to close and cease operations at the end of this month, just a little over three months from the tragic crash of one of the Russian carriers Antonov An-148s.

The 86 year-old company has had little choice after Rosaviatsia, the Russian air transport regulator ordered the airline to stop selling and issuing its own tickets as well as those for other companies from the end of this month.

In addition, Rosaviatsia has ordered the airline to make sure all its passengers are repatriated on or before that date and no new flights should be sold if the return date is after the 30th May. However, despite that direction from the authorities, we were able to book a return ticket to Moscow from Saratov travelling in June, earlier this afternoon. 

The airline has failed to cope following the fatal crash of one of its An-148 aircraft just outside Moscow Domodedovo on the 11th February which killed all 71 people onboard. The initial investigation found that despite the snow showers and -5c temperature at Domodedovo airport on the day of the flight, the pilot decided the aircraft should not be de-iced. Analysis of the black boxes showed that pitot tube heaters had not been turned on which resulted in them becoming iced over of blocked and therefore different airspeeds were indicated in the cockpit. One was showing increasing speed, one showing decreasing speed, whilst a third showing no airspeed at all. The aircraft was being flown manually by the pilot when it dived downward. The investigation found the first officer had tried to stop the decent but failed to persuade the captain before the aircraft crashed into the ground.

It's understood that the closure of the airline will result in the loss of 1200 jobs.