MOSCOW, September 26. /TASS/. More than 30 flights of the VIM-Avia airline company have been canceled. More than 2,000 passengers from Russia have found themselves stranded at foreign airports, an airlines source told TASS on Tuesday.
"On early Tuesday, the VIAM-Avia airline company cancelled more than 20 regular flights and 10 charter flights from three Russian cities and six foreign countries: Bulgaria, Spain, Italy, Greece, Turkey and Cyprus," the source said.
More than 2,000 people from Russia are staying at foreign airports, he said.
About 360 tourists from China are staying in Belgium’s Liege due to cancellation of VIM-Avia’s flight to Wuhan, the capital of the Hubei province. The airport’s press service confirmed this information on Tuesday when asked by a TASS reporter.
"Due to very late flight cancellation, over 360 people could not set out on Monday. We tried to place them in hotels, but managed to find place for only about 180 people. The others had to spend the night at the airport," the press service reported.
It also noted that transportation of these people home by alternative flights was being discussed.
It emerged on Monday that the Federal Air Transport Agency initiated unscheduled examination of the VIM-Avia air company. According to the agency, substantial delays in the flights were linked to the company’s debts to fueling companies. Russian Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov stated that the situation with VIM-Avia flight delays was controlled by the Russian Transport Ministry.
The ministry also reported that the air company’s potential financial risks when carrying passengers would be assessed before the end of this year.
Head of Russia’s Federal Agency for Tourism Oleg Safonov told TASS the withdrawal of Russia’s air carrier Vim-Avia from the charter flights market will not crush the country’s tourism sector.
"No collapse of Russia’s tourism market is expected due to suspension of Vim-Avia’s charter program. The Transport Ministry of the Russian Federation, the Federal Air Transport Agency and the Federal Agency for Tourism are engaged is organizing the return of Russian tourists, the clients of this air carrier, back home," he said.
The airline company obliged to transport more than 200,000 passengers before the end of this year.
This is the second surge of massive delays in the company’s flights. In May 2017, the carrier started mass flight delays at various airports. The company explained it by late arrivals of the aircraft. In order to stabilize the situation, the airline company partially reduced its charter program for the summer period, having cancelled 13 routes. Other carriers also helped to overcome the delays.