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Saratov Airlines shareholder starts work on new carrier

Russian entrepreneur Arkady Evstafiev has commenced work on a successor carrier to the collapsed Saratov Airlines, in which he was a shareholder.

Evstafiev is the general director of the investment holding Energy Union.

Russia's transport ministry says he informed delegates at a 30 May meeting, held to co-ordinate the response to Saratov Airlines suspension, that he was intending to create a new carrier.

This new carrier would aim to retain employees of the grounded airline.

The ministry says it would feature a new organisational structure with a focus on flight operations and flight safety – areas in which Saratov Airlines was found to have considerable weaknesses, which led to the withdrawal of its operating certificate.

In its final couple of weeks before suspension Saratov Airlines had introduced additional Embraer E-Jets featuring the name 'Ivolga Airlines'.

It had disclosed that the new brand was part of a modernisation effort, and had been driven by the fact that 60% of the airline's flights were not conducted from Saratov airport.

The ministry has not indicated whether this name will continue to be used by Evstafiev's new carrier.

It points out that federal air transport regulator Rosaviatsia has received an application for a new operating certificate under the same 'Saratov Airlines' name.

Rosaviatsia is to review this application within the next 60 days before reaching a conclusion.

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