The flight director of Russia’s S7 Airlines, Mansur Badrakov, has been taken to court for allegedly selling A320neo pilot jobs to individuals who did not meet the necessary qualifications.

After spending weeks under house arrest, the former director was accused of taking a bribe of 1.5 million rubles ($21,860) to help an intending pilot get employment as a pilot of the first Airbus A320neo in Russia. He has since been charged with bribery along with the airline’s former deputy general director and the lead pilot instructor at the Domodedovo City Court.

The prosecution office explained via their official Telegram channel that 350 000 rubles were also transferred to Mr Badrakov for onward transfer to officials of the Central Medical and Flight Expert Commission of Civil Aviation from one of the candidate’s mothers to obtain a medical certificate. The mother is also facing criminal charges for giving a bribe. 

Nefarious Activity Has Been Going On For Years

According to court documents, Badrakov is accused of accepting bribes from individuals in exchange for guaranteeing them pilot positions on the A320neo aircraft, despite their lack of experience and qualifications. The scheme is believed to have been in operation for years, with several individuals being placed in positions they were not qualified for.

The bribery was first discovered last summer by investigators from the Federal Security Service (FSB), leading to his apprehension by the agency. His deputy, Boris Kamyshev, was also arrested alongside Mr Badrakov in the Moscow region.

None of the defendants are currently employed by the airline, according to a statement released by the airline to the Russian news agency TASS earlier this week;

“Since the beginning of the investigation, Boris Kamyshev has been removed from his post as deputy general director for flight operations. Since July 2022, he has been suspended from work, as he is under house arrest and is awaiting a court decision. Mansur Badrakov has been removed from his post as flight director and suspended from work since June 2022 and is under house arrest.”

A320 belonging to S7 Airlines
A320 belonging to S7 Airlines | ©Wikimedia Commons

S7 Airlines, one of Russia’s largest airlines, operates a fleet of A320neo aircraft, and the alleged scheme is said to have put the safety of passengers at risk. The airline has stated that it is fully cooperating with the investigation and has taken steps to ensure that all its pilots meet the necessary qualifications and experience.

Flight Director Case Ongoing

The case has caused widespread outrage in Russia, with many calling for stricter regulations and oversight of the aviation industry. The incident has also raised concerns about the broader issue of corruption in Russia, with some calling for greater transparency and accountability in the country’s business and political sectors.

Mansur Badrakov, suspended from his position as Flight Director, has denied the allegations and stated that he is innocent. His lawyer has also said that the case is politically motivated and that Badrakov is being used as a scapegoat for broader issues in the industry.

The case is ongoing, and it remains to be seen what the outcome will be. If found guilty, Badrakov faces up to 10 years in prison. 

In the meantime, S7 Airlines has assured its customers that it is taking all necessary steps to ensure the safety and well-being of its passengers. The company has also apologised for any inconvenience caused by the incident and assured the public that it is taking all necessary steps to address the situation.

The incident serves as a reminder that safety must always be the top priority in the aviation industry and that all necessary steps must be taken to ensure the well-being of passengers. It also serves as a call to action for the government and the industry to take a more proactive approach to address the issue of corruption and ensure that all pilots meet the necessary qualifications and experience.

What is your take on this case? Please let us know in the comments. 

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