VIM Airlines (NN, Moscow Domodedovo) will end scheduled operations on October 16, following on from the suspension of its charter ops last month. Russia's aviation authority Rosaviatsia has announced that flights from Simferopol and Adler/Sochi have already stopped, and the last regular flights from other airports will occur on October 15.

Passengers who were stranded abroad after VIM's charter ops were suspended are being repatriated with the assistance of other airlines, including Aeroflot, Ural Airlines, Royal Flight, Azur Air, iFly Airlines, NordStar, Red Wings Airlines, Nordwind Airlines, Ikar and Yakutia Airlines. The government has set aside RUB200 million (USD3.4 million) to compensate airlines.

Meanwhile, VIM's CEO and Chief Accountant have been arrested over charges of embezzlement. The Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation (SLDKOM) alleges that the airline continued to sell tickets even though they knew they couldn't transport passengers, thus deceitfully earning RUB1 million (USD17,000).

News of the airline's financial collapse has angered Russia's President Vladimir Putin, who has criticised Minister of Transport Maxim Sokolov and the Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich for their oversight of the Ministry.

"The criteria that you have developed are useless," President Putin is reported as saying. "You haven't paid enough attention to the transport sector. Are you overworked?"

However, Dvorkovich has said that he believes there are investors willing to take on VIM including its debts. TASS reports the Deputy Prime Minister as saying that an analysis will be carried out over the coming days to assess the situation. The airline's owner, Rashid Mursekaev, is apparently willing to sell the business for one ruble. VIM has debts of approximately RUB10 billion (USD173 million).

Dvorkovich's ministry is also drawing up new regulations to tighten rules around the financial stability of airlines, to be introduced in a few weeks.

"We are preparing a draft legal act, a draft law that would establish a more stringent system for controlling the activities of airlines, introduce financial stability indicators, and provide insurance for passengers for such situations," Dvorkovich said.