The financial company Flash Light Capital filed a lawsuit for the bankruptcy of Utair, one of the largest Russian carriers. More creditors could follow.
The lender asked for the court to bankrupt Utair for a total amount of 307.8K rubles ($4,743), according to the case filed at the Arbitration Court of Khanty-Mansi district on September 27, 2019. It is yet to be considered by the court.
MTS-Bank and Rus Bank also announced their decisions to file a lawsuit for non-payment of interest on September 26, 2010, according to RBK.
The debt of Utair to banks and creditors could amount to 74 billion rubles ($1,143 billion) in total, according to Ura.ru. AeroTime has reached out to Utair for comment but did not receive an answer at the time this article was published.
Utair is the fourth-largest airline in Russia behind Aeroflot Group, S7 Airlines, and Ural Airlines. In 2018 it transported more than 7.9 million people, but also reported a net loss of around 22 billion rubles ($340 million) against a net profit of 2.43 billion rubles ($34 million) the previous year. However, in the first half of 2019, the airline managed to secure 163.6 million rubles ($2.527 million) of operating profit.
In March 2019, Flash Light Capital filed a similar lawsuit together with three other creditors, Yugan-Union Card, Inter, and Gidpromenergostroy, for about 1.5 million rubles ($23,167), but it was refused by the court, according to TASS.
For Utair, the financial woes started in 2015, when debts forced the airline to scrap its fleet renewal plan by canceling an order of 24 Superjet 100s and sell its subsidiaries UTair Express and Azur Air. In May 2018, UTair ordered 30 Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft in a second attempt to renew its fleet.
Utair currently operates a fleet of 43 Boeing 737s, three Boeing 767s, and 15 ATR 72-500s. Its sister company, Utair Helicopter Services, is the largest Russian operator of helicopters.
The company’s current Boeing 737-500s have aged to the point that their maintenance cost makes them financially inefficient, Oleg Panteleev, director of “Aviaport” aviation agency, told Vedomosti.