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Avianova sacks CEO and accuses him of 'misleading public'

Russian low-cost carrier Avianova has terminated the contract of chief executive Andrew Pyne and accused him of "misleading the public" to believe that his removal was the result of a shareholder dispute.

Avianova said that its general manager, Vladimir Gorbunov, had made the decision to let Pyne go because of his failure to comply with Russian legislation.

"From the very beginning of his co-operation with Avianova, Andrew Pyne demonstrated his unwillingness to work in compliance with Russian laws and emphasised his intention to work solely in accordance with his own rules," said Gorbunov.

"Recently, the number of violations resulting from this position - flight cancellations, delays in refunding unused tickets to passengers - has reached critical mass."

A source close to the airline told ATI and Flightglobal last month that "elements loyal to shareholders" had physically removed Pyne, chief commercial officer Michael Hayden and a number of Russian executives from Avianova's offices on 24 June, and prevented them from re-entering the building.

But Gorbunov has accused Pyne of "misleading the public by misrepresenting his own irresponsibility as conflicts between shareholders".

He added that following inspections by various regulators - which he claims were prompted by Pyne's actions - he had "decided to cease co-operation between the airline and Andrew Pyne, and also with several advisors invited by him, because in spite of sanctions imposed by the aviation officials and the public prosecutor's office, they continued their practice of unreasonable flight cancellations and other violations of Russian legislation".

Avianova is a joint venture between Russian investment firm Alfa-1, which owns 51% of the carrier, and US investment fund Indigo Partners.

Neither Pyne nor Hayden could immediately be reached for comment.

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