Italian budget carrier Ernest Airlines is being forced to suspend its operations two weeks from now. The suspension comes from Italy’s National Civil Aviation Authority (ENAC). There have not been any specific reasons provided publicly for the suspension. However, Ernest’s website says it hopes to restore operations as soon as possible.
Sudden and unexpected
The news of the suspension comes without warning, catching many travelers off guard. The following announcement is up on Ernest’s website:
“Dear passengers, unfortunately, we must temporarily close the sales of our flights departing from 13 January 2020 as the National Civil Aviation Authority (ENAC) has disposed a suspension of our operating license starting January 13th, 2020. The flights will be restored on the site as soon as the revocation of this provision is published. The license can 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.”
However, according to Flight Global, the airline states that there are “no imminent critical issues” which would jeopardize operational safety.
ENAC states that the suspension is temporary and revokable. This means that its license can be restored when it is able to demonstrate compliance with current regulations and standards.
“Our company is taking all the necessary actions aimed at obtaining the revocation of [the prohibition],” -Ernest Airlines via Flight Global
What to do if you’re affected
While the news is sudden, thankfully the suspension will only begin after the busy holiday travel period. ENAC says the deferment of the suspension is in consideration of the holiday period, including for Ukraine as many Ukrainian’s celebrate Orthodox Christmas Day on January 7th.
Passengers who have flights booked with Ernest after January 13th are being asked to contact the airline via phone or email to change their flights free of charge. The airline is also allowing full refunds of tickets. Its website states that only requests coming directly from passengers involved in the delay, cancellation or denied boarding will be accepted. Ernest is also advising travelers not to go to the airport.
About Ernest Airlines
Ernest began in 2015 with a combination of Italian and Swedish investment and obtained its operation certificates in 2017. The company says it has roughly 200 staff working out of its offices in Milan.
ch-Aviation reports that Ernest Airlines currently operates one A319-100 and three A320-200s. These four aircraft together serve mainly two key markets from Italy: Albania and Ukraine. It operates to Tirana from eight Italian cities. In Ukraine, it serves four major cities including the capital of Kyiv. In the west, Ernest flies to Ibiza and Menorca in Spain and Toulouse in France.
Hopefully, the airline can rectify whatever irregularities exist with its operations and get back into the good books of the civil aviation authorities. Unfortunately without any indication of the reason for suspension, we can’t even speculate as to how long this suspension may last.
Have you ever flown on Ernest? Let us know about your experience and what you think the reason for the suspension is!