Saratov Airlines loses its international business over security violation

Russian Federal Air Transport Agency (Rosaviacia) has waived the right of international operations from Saratov Airlines, Russia’s only operator of Embraer E195 aircraft, from October 26. The reason for the restriction is a violation of aviation security rules by the staff, the regulator explained. During one of the flights a non-crew was admitted to the cockpit.

The incident took place on July 19, during a flight from Saratov to Antalya, Turkey. The person who was allowed to visit the cockpit was an airline employee, and a close relative to the carrier’s general director. She was not filed in the flight assignment and was not a crew member, Rosaviacia emphasizes.

The airline argues, that it did not receive any special requirements from the state body. “We conducted internal investigation and imposed measures of disciplinary liability on those involved in the incident, including general director, Igor Tratyakov,” the airline wrote in a letter to Russian Aviation Insider. According to the document, Saratov Airlines is intending to file a court appeal to dispute the Rosaviacia’s decision, which it refers to as “unsustained”.

The decision to impose a restriction on the airline was the consequence of the airline’s failure to “take adequate measures” as a reaction to the violation during one month after the incident, an agency spokesperson told Russian Aviation Insider.

Although Saratov Airlines does not have regular flights abroad, its charter program, which includes such popular eisure destinations as Antalya, Sharm-el-Sheikh and Hurgada, is a vital part of the carrier’s business. The airline operates Embraer E195 aircraft from its base in Saratov, a city in the South-East of Russia’s European part, with a population of near 900,000 people.

Commenting on the implicit danger of letting an outsider inside the cockpit, Rosaviacia reminded another incident, that resulted in a crash that killed 75 people aboard an Aeroflot Airbus A310 aircraft in March 1994. The cause of the accident was a pilot’s decision to let his children into the cockpit and allow them to take control of the aircraft.

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