May 30, 2022
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The Ministry of Transport has found a way to once again get into the pocket of tourists

The Ministry of Transport has found a way to once again get into the pocket of tourists

Photo: Sergey Malgavko/TASS

The government is thinking about how to secure the use of those air transportation clearance systems that are owned by foreign companies. To do this, first of all, they want to abandon the so-called BSP (Billing and settlement plan, a system of mutual settlements and data exchange between travel agencies and airlines – ed.). This is stated in the draft government decree prepared by the Ministry of Transport of Russia. The reason for the initiative is the risks of new sanctions. And of course, increasing the security of passengers’ personal data and countering terrorism.

In addition to the foreign BSP, which is operated by the International Air Transport Association, there is also our ATSS – Air Transport Settlement System with the Transport Clearing House operator. Air tickets for flights of Russian airlines are currently sold through these two systems, if you do not buy directly from carriers. And now processing for two mutual settlement systems can be combined, Izvestia writes. Naturally, everything is in the interests of the passenger.

Honored Pilot of the USSR, ex-Deputy Minister of Civil Aviation of the USSR Oleg Smirnov doubts that it will be possible to introduce a new fee without an increase in ticket prices:

– After all, any fees fall on the financial component of the activities of airlines. Their only way to make money is to take it from the passengers, including it in the ticket price. So in fact the government proposes to increase the cost of flights. Considering the economic situation of our country, this does not shine with anything good. We already have air transportation for various reasons, scanty. Europe has banned our companies from flying to the Old World. Our Black Sea coast is closed, with the exception of Sochi. All that remains is tourism within Russia. And if further away, then only fly through Istanbul with several transfers.

An additional fee and the subsequent increase in the price of an air ticket will lead to a decrease in demand. But many of us have lost their jobs during the pandemic or are working on standby for a third of their salary. There are millions of them. The increase in cost will cast doubt on loud statements about the “rapid development of domestic tourism.”

“SP”: – They promise not to increase the cost of tickets by redistributing the existing fees: airport, fuel, service, for servicing and for the safety of passengers, as well as for servicing aircraft in air hubs, providing navigation services for dispatchers, and so on and so forth.

I don’t see how they can be “redistributed”. Fee – there is a fee, it is fixed. Suppose an airport tax – the plane has landed, all the services that the airport provides to it are indicated: refueling, taxiing, working with passengers, for everything – a certain fee. The airline knows it and is obliged to pay. Or the fee for flying over the air territory of our country, sent to the account of the State Corporation for Air Traffic Management – everything is fixed.

“SP: – If all fees are collected and reduced by a certain percentage?

“It seems to me that all charges should be abolished altogether in order to encourage airlines to develop domestic flights. Or stop talking about the “rapid development of domestic tourism.”

“SP”: – They write that now half of the aircraft in the fleets of Russian carriers are on concrete, and this is direct losses for airlines.

– Some of the Western aircraft, Boeings and Airbuses, remained with us. This decision was made at the highest level – to leave them in the country. But at the same time, sanctions were imposed against us for the supply of spare parts. You can’t attribute the liners anywhere, even to the Vatican, but there are no spare parts for them. Planes, of course, fly for two or three months. There are some parts left in stock. The next stage – the board is placed against the fence, spare parts are removed from it in order to rearrange it to another aircraft that has exhausted its resource.
But these spare parts must also run out sometime. They will put one, another, a third … a fifth to the fence. Eventually this will come to an end. When it will come, one can only guess.

The situation has become paradoxical – no one benefits from the sanctions imposed by the West. And the West itself is not profitable. Boeing and Airbus had billions from us for leasing, parts, maintenance, simulators. Now they have lost those billions because politics intervened. Where politics interferes in business, either the deterioration of the business or its collapse is inevitable – this has already been proven by historical practice.

One hope is that Boeing and Airbus will still push through their politicians in order to lift stupid restrictions and continue to operate their aircraft in our vast territory. In Europe, you can walk around the countries from city to city or ride a bicycle, but here you can try to go from Kaliningrad to Kamchatka. All aircraft manufacturers and carriers are salivating over this vast extent of our territory. They, too, are waiting and throwing their fishing rods: let’s start flying along domestic lines on our planes and with our crews? But as a finale, all our airlines are liquidated. Western or Turkish companies will carry us from Moscow to Saratov.

“SP”: – In the meantime, we are expected to increase the number of bankruptcies of airlines. Over the summer, their number should decrease by a third?

– This assumption has a real basis. All loopholes for spare parts will end and we will have nothing to fly on. Our domestic planes Tu-204, 214, 334, Il-114 were deleted from the budget funding at the time. And they were real competitors to Boeing and Airbus, they were literally on the way out, and some were even certified, such as the Il-114. Then there were many masters of sawing budget money.

So the bankruptcy of airlines is quite likely. And an increase in the price of tickets will add danger, due to the fact that, firstly, they will not have something to fly on, and secondly, the cost of tickets will rise, which will discourage the population from the demand for air travel.

“SP”: – So they want to help the alleged bankrupt airlines by creating a reserve fund with the help of an additional fee. The funds of the fund are expected to be spent on the fulfillment of obligations to passengers in force majeure situations. Passengers stuck at the airport can be put on other flights or refunded to them for a failed flight. But, alas, the mechanism for introducing a new payment is not yet clear, because if, as you say, other fees are not reduced or canceled, ticket prices can only increase.

– If the airline carried a million passengers a year, then as soon as the cost of tickets increases, they will carry not a million, but eight hundred thousand or half a million. And the planes are dismantled. Bravura statements that “hundreds of new aircraft will be released” are empty chatter. For thirty years they have been talking about it, but the criterion of truth is practice.

“SP”: – Let’s see by the fall, we will count the number of remaining aircraft. Maybe by this time a couple of new ones will appear: their own, Chinese or Turkish?

Aircraft manufacturing is a long process. They are made from thousands of components. And who will do them if we do not have specialists. There are no modern materials, there are not even machine tools and mechanisms on which spare parts can be made. Machine tools that make parts for the same “Superjet-100” and those are Western-made. In short, there is no one to make them, not out of anything and not on anything. You can’t carve it on your knee in the garage – hundreds of thousands of spare parts are needed. They used to do it, but now they don’t. Revolutionary reindustrialization is needed.

One joy is that now our people do not go to a conference in Davos – they were kicked out from there by “Western partners”. Everyone who was engaged in aircraft construction in our country was actually “charged” … to destroy it – I mean Chubais and others. They were taught “how to destroy our country.” They eliminated in their brains that which is responsible for the process of creation. It is necessary to replace the old ones and appoint new ones who would think about the country and its interests, and not about how to line their pockets with budget money. Then, I’m sure, everything will quickly get off the ground. But so far it hasn’t been seen…

In the meantime, it was proposed to create a working group, inviting the head of IATA in Russia and the CIS to participate in it Dmitry ShamraevTCH President Mikhail Baskakov and CEO of the National Payment Card System (NSPK) Vladimir Komlev. They have to figure out how to fill the new aviation reserve fund, if not at the expense of budgetary funds and not at the expense of passengers?

And the amount of the fee has not yet been determined, only the range from 70 to 250 rubles per flight is being discussed. At the same time, part of the payment may not even go to the budget of the future fund, but will be transferred to the system operator for the provision of the service. But the development of the insurance system could serve as an alternative to creating a fund.

Usually, when we had some difficulties before, we looked: what about in other countries? And now there is no one to see. Although it is recalled that in European states there were some taxes, including on flights abroad, and the funds raised were directed to targeted programs for the development of domestic tourism. It’s just a pity we realized this too late.

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