2 Oct 2017 14:18

Minister confirms former Transaero CEO named head of VIM Avia, issue of certificate to be resolved within 2 wks

MOSCOW. Oct 2 (Interfax) - Russian Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov confirmed that the former CEO of bankrupt airline Transaero , Alexander Burdin has been appointed CEO of distressed VIM Airlines, also known as VIM Avia.

Sokolov, speaking at a press conference about the situation at VIM Airlines at Vnukovo Airport on Sunday, also said that the issue of the possible revocation of VIM Avia's operating certificate will be resolved within two weeks.

"This issue [of the revocation of VIM Avia's operating certificate] will be resolved in the next two weeks. Now, new general director Alexander Burdin has been appointed at VIM Avia, though the relevant confirmation has not gone through yet at the Air Transport Agency. He is present at our crisis center meetings. He is working with creditors, leasing companies and other organizations, and together with directors - the flight director and director for ground services - is working with the company's staff. Therefore, this issue will be decided by the Federal Air Transport Agency according to the established procedure after the critical situation ends and the airline enters a routine operating regime. According to our estimates, this will happen as early as the beginning of next week," Sokolov said.

Air Transport Agency head Alexander Neradko said that the agency has not yet received "official documents on the appointment of Alexander Burdin as general director."

"If such documents are received, we will consider them according to the established procedure," Neradko said.

Burdin, the former CEO of bankrupt airline Transaero, was appointed the new head of VIM Airlines on Friday, September 29. VIM Airlines said in a statement on Friday that Burdin has "considerable experience as a turnaround manager."

The statement does not specify who exactly appointed Burdin. A source told the newspaper Vedomosti that the appointment was made by the airlines owners, Rashid Mursekayev and Svetlana Mursekayeva. However, Rosaviatsia's Neradko said that the whereabouts of those two remained unknown, creating a formal barrier to installing outside management.

VIM Airlines said Burdin "is arriving at VIM Airlines with a strong team of experts in management, possessing significant track record of success in crisis situations."

Burdin has not previously managed an active airline: he was named head of Transaero after its operator's certificate was revoked and was in fact only in charge of procedures leading up to the airline's bankruptcy. He has also stirred up the stock market by periodically suggesting that Transaero might be reanimated, resulting in steep fluctuations in the company's share price.