DALLAS – The largest privately owned Romanian airline, Blue Air (OB), will halt all of its scheduled departures from Romanian airports until Monday, September 12. According to a news release issued today, September 6, the airline claims that the Environment Ministry has blocked all of its bank accounts, forcing it to make this choice.
According to the Romanian Insider news outlet, the airline noted that its flights from foreign airports bound for Romania would take place as scheduled until today. Starting tomorrow, since its aircraft will not depart from any Romanian airports, the carrier’s inbound flights to Romania will also be suspended.
Blue Air claims that because the Romanian Environment Ministry decided to freeze its accounts, it is no longer able to pay its operating expenses. The airline does not mention the factors that led to this decision by the Romanian authorities.
According to OB, a statement made by the president of the Romanian Consumer Protection Agency (ANPC) urging people to cease purchasing OB tickets resulted in missed ticket sales of €5m and pressure on its suppliers to make upfront payments.
The carrier also claims that recent developments have stalled discussions it had with two London-based investment firms that were interested in becoming shareholders.
Previous ANPC Trouble for Blue Air
ANPC fined the Romanian airline €2m in July for canceling over 11,000 flights over the course of a year, from April 30, 2021, to April 30, 2022.
The regulator also mandated that OB reimburse customers RON66.5m (€13m) in fare revenue for the relevant flights within 10 days. The business declared that it will contest the penalty.
Blue Air said today that it had terminated its code-sharing agreement with Air Connect (4Z), a small Romanian carrier that had only recently begun flying, just hours before announcing the flight suspensions.
According to the agreement, OB would have handed over to 4Z the operation of a few domestic and international regional services for the EU.
This is a developing story.
Featured image: Blue Air YR-MXA Boeing 737-8 MAX. Photo: Fabrizio Spicuglia/Airways