Blue Air (Romania) (0B, Bucharest Otopeni) has suspended all flights departing from all Romanian airports effective immediately until at least September 12, 2022, blaming the seizure of its accounts by the country's Ministry of Environment.

The privately-owned carrier said all flights returning to Romania from airports abroad would continue to operate as scheduled on September 6. Once all the aircraft are back in the country, the airline will then halt all flight operations.

Blue Air claimed that prior to the seizure of its accounts, the government had undermined the public's trust in the company. It specifically blamed Horia Constantinescu, the president of the Romanian consumer watchdog (Autorității Naționale pentru Protecția Consumatorilor - ANPC), who, in mid-July, advised passengers against buying tickets from the financially fraught carrier.

Blue Air said Constantinescu's comments had resulted in it losing EUR5 million euros (USD5 million) worth of ticket sales while also triggering its suppliers to demand pre-payments for all services, which is now impossible given the seizure of Blue Air's accounts. The airline said Constantinescu's statements had also led to the termination of negotiations with two potential investment firms, which were tentatively interested in shoring up the airline's financials strained by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The irresponsible statements and actions of a representative of the Romanian state, as well as the impetuous decision to block all the company's bank accounts, has forced Blue Air into the undesirable situation of suspending its operations for the next days," the carrier said.

In July, the ANPC fined Blue Air EUR2 million (USD2 million) for repeated flight cancellations.

Shortly before today's decision to suspend all operations through September 12, Blue Air signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Air Connect (KS, Bucharest Otopeni) to establish a strategic partnership. Blue Air plans to transfer some of its domestic and EU routes to the regional carrier, which will operate them with an ATR72-600. The two carriers also plan to establish a code-share agreement, which will allow Blue Air to continue selling tickets for the transferred routes. The partnership is due to begin on September 12.

Blue Air did not respond to ch-aviation's query as to whether the MoU remains in place now that the carrier's funds have been seized and operations suspended.

The ch-aviation fleets advanced module shows that Blue Air operates three B737-500s, one B737-700, five B737-8s, and six B737-800s. The airline also has two inactive B737-300s.