The end of “flower power”: Kuban Airlines ceases operations today

Kuban Airlines (Krasnodar, Russia), named for the Kuban Province of southern Russia, ended all operations today (December 11) due to “a difficult financial situation”. The airline started operations in 1932 as a regional division of Aeroflot (Moscow). The company merged with SkyExpress on October 29, 2011. The company issued the following statement (translated from Russian)

Kuban airline will stop all operations at 00:00 on December 11, 2012. The main reason for the stop of the airline is the difficult financial situation and the inability to follow a number of provisions of the new Federal Aviation Regulations “Certification requirements for natural persons, legal persons engaged in commercial air transport” (FAP-11), which became effective at the end of November 2012. According to the rules scheduled air carrier shall not have less than 8 aircraft with a capacity of 55 or more passenger seats.

Until now, Kuban operated six aircraft of foreign manufacture. Three of them (Airbus A319) were prematurely returned because it is impossible for timely payments under the contract and the company was in arrears on the payments. Previously, from November 1, 2012, the company had removed the obsolete Yak-42s. (The A319s were operated in an all-white condition).

Given the inability of the prevailing conditions (reducing the fleet by 50%) to run a program of autumn-winter navigation in the stated amounts in accordance with the requirements of FAR-11, airline management made the decision to stop the forced operations.

We have to state that today the very existence of regional airlines in Russia is threatened. This is facilitated by the current legislation. There is a problem with access to markets, selective support of some airlines in the form of protectionist measures and subsidies, the opacity of the aviation industry suppliers, the absence of a favorable financial background, aimed at stimulating regional carriers to move to new modern aircraft. The existing regulations does not promote competition, the emergence of new carriers, opening regional routes and the overall financial health workers airlines.

Kuban will work closely with the Administration of Krasnodar region, in order to minimize the problems associated with the forced cancellation of flights.

The company sent a statement to the Arbitration Court of Krasnodar Krai on the recognition of its bankruptcy. All financial claims will be considered by the bankruptcy process to manage the airline.

Copyright Photo: Arnd Wolf. Kuban also operated two Boeing 737-300s and two 737-500s. This bright and dazzling Sunflower design was introduced by the airline in February 2010. Boeing 737-3Q8 VQ-BHB (msn 26310) taxies to the runway at Munich.

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