MOSCOW, September 21 - RAPSI. The Moscow District Federal Commercial Court scheduled for November 8 the hearing of an appeal by UTair Aviation against a lower court ruling rejecting its claim for the recovery of 444.2 million rubles ($14.36 million) from the Finance Ministry, a Moscow Commercial Court spokesperson told the Russian Legal Information Agency (RAPSI/rapsinews.com).
On March 27, the Moscow Commercial Court ruled against UTair Aviation in a lawsuit by the airline which sought compensation for its losses in 2008 as a result of selling tickets for children under 12 at a 50 percent discount. In June, the Ninth Commercial Court of Appeals upheld the ruling of the first instance.
The plaintiff stated at the trial, that airlines are obligated to provide this discount, but that there is no legislation entitling them to compensation from the state. UTair therefore has taken the matter to court, referring to the Constitutional Court's December resolution which recognized the airlines' 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 carriers right, but not [a 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.