UTair's complaint against ruling in Finance Ministry case rejected
MOSCOW, February 15 - RAPSI. The Supreme Commercial Court has turned down UTair's appeal against the court ruling to dismiss its 444.2 million rubles ($14.8 mln) lawsuit against the Finance Ministry, the court told RAPSI on Friday.
The Supreme Commercial Court said the appeal was filed in breach of the Commercial Court Procedural Code, which requires an appeal to include a power of attorney granting authority to sign the appeal.
On March 27, 2012, the Moscow Commercial Court ruled against UTair in its lawsuit claiming compensation for losses incurred in 2008 when the company sold tickets to children under 12 at a 50 % discount.
In June,2012, the Ninth Commercial Court of Appeals upheld the first-instance court's ruling. On November 15, 2012, the Moscow District Federal Commercial Court affirmed the validity of the lower-court judicial acts.
The plaintiff said during the trial that airlines are obligated to provide the discount, but there is no legislation entitling them to compensation from the state for doing so.
UTair thus took the matter to court, referring to the Constitutional Court's December resolution that recognized the airline's costs as losses.
The Finance Ministry argued that children under 12 are not a privileged class entitled to discounts by law. Thus, it said the carrier cannot hold the government accountable for the losses incurred by offering the discount.
The court noted in its judgment that "fare setting, including benefits for children from 2 to 12, is the air carrier's right, but not (the result of) state regulation, so the discount does not impose any liability on the Russian Federation."
UTair is a leading Russian airline and the second largest domestic carrier. The UTair Group comprises UTair Aviation, UTair Express, UTair-Ukraine, UTair-Cargo, Nefteyugansk OAO, Helisur, UTair Europe s.r.o., and UTair South Africa (Pty) Ltd. UTair's fleet includes 184 aircraft.