(Apr. 21, 2009) On April 13, 2009, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin signed a regulation approving new rules for providing government subsidies to air carriers. After this regulation enters into force on May 1, 2009, the government will be obliged to guarantee to each individual that any flight that the person was scheduled to take will operate, regardless of an airline's financial problems.
According to the new rules, the government will provide the Federal Air Transportation Agency with an additional amount equal to US$250 million, which will be used to pay for the transport of passengers by any airline available if the airline on which the travelers had purchased tickets goes bankrupt or has other financial difficulties. The regulation was adopted in order to prevent a repetition of the situation that occurred last year, in which tens of thousands of Russian travelers were stranded in airports when airlines that had issued tickets went out of business.
Additionally, the regulation provides for a procedure that would allow the government to recall the licenses of those airlines whose financial reserves go below an established limit. (Information on the Meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers [in Russian], website of the Federal Executive Government of the Russian Federation, Apr. 13, 2009, available at http://www.premier.gov.ru/events/2564.html.)