Upon further investigation the US FAA says that certification for startup Baltia Air Lines could occur this year.

A spokesman for the agency's Eastern division acknowledges that on 25 January he told ATI that certification would be difficult to achieve this year due to four individuals leaving the Eastern office. But after further scrutiny he says the information supplied is incorrect.

After the departure of staff, the remaining resources were dedicated to certification project for Atlas Air, he says, and Baltia's certification was put on hold.

But after receiving better information the spokesman for the Eastern office says the carrier could gain certification this year.

FAA's first contact with Baltia was three years ago, and at time the time the Eastern division had sufficient resources to dedicate to its certification programme, says the spokesman.

In the interim staff departed from the office.

Baltia has submitted manuals for FAA's approval, and the Eastern region spokesman says initial inspections showed some work needed to be completed on the documents.

Baltia aims to launch flights operated with a Boeing 747-200 from John F Kennedy International airport in New York to St. Petersburg, Russia in the second half of the year.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news