Bankruptcy of airline companies toward the end of the year is already starting to become an unfortunate tradition in Ukraine. The 2012/2013 New Year holidays were marred by the problems of the AeroSvit airline company, which was the largest carrier in Ukraine at that time, and it was the turn of Air Onix during the 2013/2014 New Year holidays. Air Onix not only stopped flying in December, it also asked the aviation authorities to suspend its air operator certificate. The Ministry of Infrastructure and the State Aviation Service then ordered Air Onix to submit its financial statements and a detailed crisis-resolution plan, including a timetable for paying its debts and a plan for resuming flights, to the Commission for Certification of Air Transport Operators within one month.
Furthermore, the State Aviation Service announced that it planned to perform an unscheduled audit of the airline company for financial solvency in January. It added that it would consider whether to restore the airline company’s certificate or revoke it and strip it of all the rights to operate airlines after studying the relevant materials. However, with little more than two weeks remaining before the end of January, no audit has been performed and, by all indications, none will be performed.
"At present, we have not received a request from Air Onix to restore its air operator certificate. If the airline company decides to restore the certificate and submits the relevant application to us, we will perform an inspection and present our conclusions," the State Aviation Service told the Center for Transport Strategies.
In addition, Air Onix has not yet taken any steps to resolve its dispute with the Interavia airport ground handling company, which stopped providing services to the airline company because of debts. Interavia told the Center for Transport Strategies that a lawsuit has been filed against the airline company and that the lawsuit has been scheduled for consideration, but it declined to disclose the date of consideration of the lawsuit or provide any details. However, according to a January 9 decision of the Economic Court of the Crimean Autonomous Republic, a hearing will take place at 10:00 on January 28. In addition, the amount of the debt that prompted Interavia to stop providing airport ground handling services to Air Onix was disclosed for the first time in the document. The debt amounts to UAH 1.352 million. The two companies are required to draft a bilateral reconciliation statement and submit it to the court by the time the hearing begins.
The Kiev airport (Zhulyani), which collaborated with Air Onix until December 11, has also not yet seen any active steps by the airline company. "Currently, the Kiev International Airport is not negotiating with the Air Onix airline company on resumption of flights. Accordingly, we have not reached any agreements. The carrier’s debt to the airport amounts to UAH 700,000 as of today. In connection with this, the airport has gone to court to recover this debt. We are not opposed to the airline company operating flights, but it is not fulfilling the terms of the contract," the press service of the airport told the Center for Transport Strategies.
The Kiev airport is not negotiating with the Air Onix airline company on resumption of flights
In addition, according to market participants, the carrier has outstanding financial obligations to LUK-Avia Oil, a supplier of jet fuel. However, the size of the financial obligations is not yet known. Air Onix declined to comment on the situation. Therefore, it is difficult to predict the fate of the Crimean-based airline company accurately, but indirect evidence suggests that Air Onix is not yet seeking to restore its air operator certificate and resume flights.
Moreover, the state of the airline company’s relations with leasing companies is unknown. As reported, the International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC) wanted to recover two aircraft from Air Onix in October because of payment delays. The airline company is silent on the outcome of the relevant negotiations. However, two factors that are definitely playing against it should be kept in mind. The first is the debt that Air Onix was hardly capable of repaying. The second is the role played by the political events that have adversely affected the credit rating of Ukraine and forced aircraft suppliers to adopt a wait-and-see attitude. According to unofficial information, a number of Ukrainian airline companies have been unable to bring aircraft into the country because of the concerns of leasing companies. As for Air Onix, all indications are that leasing companies are now trying to recover their aircraft but they have been unsuccessful because two Boeing-737 are still parked at the apron of the Kiev airport.