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Russian tycoon Lebedev sells Red Wings airlines for 1 ruble
April 5, 2013, 10:03 am


A Red Wings plane crashed in December last year killing five people [AP]

Russian billionaire Alexander Lebedev has sold Red Wings airlines for 1 ruble ($0.03), he wrote in his LiveJournal.

The company’s license was suspended in February when air transport agency Rosaviation stopped Red Wings operations following numerous faults and violations in the aircraft maintenance, flights’ organisation and pilot training.

Lebedev also explained that the company would require more financial investment, but did not name the buyers.

Red Wings went under scrutiny after the crash of a Tu-204 flying from the Czech city of Pardubice to Moscow Vnukovo International airport on December 29 last year, killing five people, all Red Wings’ employees.

Red Wings was also experiencing severe financial difficulties that could further aggravate safety of flight operations, Rosaviation said.

“Red Wings lacks financial resources to provide current operations…which does not allow to provide appropriate level of flight safety, required by the air legislation,” Rosaviation’s statement said.

Prior to the selling of Red Wings, Lebedev covered part of the company’s debt by swapping 25.8 per cent of Ilyushin Finance Co. for two transport planes An-124 and writing-off the debts for seven Tu-204 planes that constitute Red Wings’ fleet.

Alexander Lebedev owns several media outlets including Britain’s Evening Standard and Independent newspapers.

Red Wings is Russia’s 17th largest carrier by passenger turnover.

Daria Chernyshova

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