Russia to Ground Lebedev’s Airline After Deadly Crash in Moscow

Russia will ground Red Wings Airlines, founded by businessman Alexander Lebedev, after finding “numerous” safety violations at the carrier during an unscheduled check, according to the country’s aviation watchdog.

Red Wings’ right to operate flights will be suspended starting Feb. 4, the Federal Air Transport Agency said by e-mail today. The decision isn’t directly connected with the deadly crash of a Red Wings plane at Moscow’s Vnukovo airport in December, and the Interstate Aviation Committee is continuing an investigation into the accident, the agency said.

An unscheduled inspection into the airline after the crash revealed breaches during flight preparations and pilot training. The company isn’t able to maintain a high safety level due to insufficient financial resources, the regulator said.

Red Wings will continuing flying until the night of Feb. 3, the company said today in its Twitter Inc. account. The airline is Russia’s 17th biggest by passenger volumes.

A Tupolev-204 passenger plane operated by the airline caught fire after crashing through a runway barrier on Dec. 29, killing five. The plane was carrying eight people, all airline employees, and was flying into Vnukovo airport from the Czech city of Pardubice.

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