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Italian Carrier Ernest Airlines Suspends Operations
Italian low-cost airline Ernest Airlines has announced it will be suspending operations as of Jan. 13, 2020. According to a statement published on the airlines’ website, the Italian Civil Aviation Authority (ENAC) will be suspending Ernst’s Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) on that date and it will only be restored “following the demonstration by Ernest S.p.A. to be in possession of the requirements prescribed by the current legislation on the matter and to obtain the revocation of the provision issued by ENAC.”
All flights scheduled on and after January 13 are not currently on sale and passengers already holding reservations for those flights need to fill in a form on the airline’s website to obtain a full refund of the tickets purchased.
“Our company is taking all the necessary actions aimed at obtaining the revocation of the provision – continues the statement – In the meantime, in compliance with the provisions of the Authority, sales of transport contracts have been blocked for all flights departing from January 13.”
Ernest Airlines was founded in 2015 and commenced operations on July 1, 2016, focusing on connections between Italy and Albania. According to the Italian Institute of Statistics (ISTAT) there are approximately 500,000 Albanian nationals officially living in Italy, but the population is estimated to reach 800,000 considering also undocumented immigrants.
The airline obtained an Italian Air Operator’s Certificate on April 11, 2018 and a few months later launched services between Italy and Ukraine. Ernst Airlines’ website lists 26 current or future destinations in six European countries served by a fleet of four aircraft, one Airbus A319-100 and three A320-200s, with four more of the latter type currently on order.
ENAC has not provided an official reason for the measure: “If the carrier provides guarantees as required by EU rules and they are favorably assessed by ENAC, the suspension measure could be revoked – said the regulator – ENAC will continue to monitor the airline in order to verify the adoption of all possible initiatives to protect passengers’ rights.”
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