Russia’s Simargl helicopter operator to rebrand, go fixed-wing

Simargl is planning to reinvent itself as a fixed-wing operator with Embraer ERJ145s and possibly Boeing 737-800s N8 Airlines intends to offer new standard of service to passengers (n8.aero)

Pyatigorsk-based helicopter operator Simargl is preparing to start offering passenger transportation services on fixed-wing aircraft following its March sale to a company linked to Russian businessman Dmitry Chertok. The carrier is expected to operate 50-seat Embraer ERJ145 regional jetliners, which will reportedly be based in Sochi. Simargl will rebrand as N8 Airlines.

Chertok’s intention to turn Simargl, which currently has a single Mil Mi-2 helicopter, into a fixed-wing passenger operation was announced in February this year. At that time the operator’s only owner was Ruslan Panzhokov, currently Simargl’s general director. In March, Service Line LLC took control of the operator with a 99.67% share. The remaining 0.33% is held by one Denis Kalinin, according to the Russian registry of legal entities.

Service Line also holds a number of other aviation-related assets, including two MRO providers: Nord-Technik (99.9%) and Vostok Technical Services (49%; the other 51% is owned by the company Projectinvest, whose sole owner is Dmitry Chertok).

An affiliate office of Simargl was registered in Moscow in late 2016. The office has an official web-site, which says that the operator will change its name to N8 Airlines.

A recruitment agency site lists several vacancies posted by N8 Airlines. In particular, the company is hiring Embraer ERJ145 pilots based in Sochi. The vacancies also suggest that the airline is planning to operate Boeing 737-800 narrowbodies.

At an industry conference held in Moscow on April 26, Russian Aviation Insider learned that the N8 Airlines project is managed by Alexander Boyko, who previously worked in a senior managerial position at now-defunct KrasAir. Boyko declined to comment, saying it was too early to speak of any specific plans for N8 as the project was still at an early stage. Chertok’s representative said the same.

By Artyom Korenyako

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