Ernest Airlines will halt operations from mid-January, as Italian authorities are set to suspend its license – although the reasoning behind the decision has yet to be revealed.
The suspension will be effective from 13 January 2020, according to the Civil aviation regulator ENAC, which also stated that there are “no imminent critical issues” which would endanger safety.
The Italian regulator argued that the suspension enables the airline to “reprotect passengers” who are already booked to travel with the carrier.
According to ENAC, the suspension is being deferred until next month in consideration of the holiday period, including that for Ukraine which commences at a later date.
It states that it has taken the decision in accordance with European Union rules on provision of air services, and that it will monitor the airline to ensure it adopts initiatives to protect passengers.
ENAC adds that, if the carrier provides guarantees required by the EU rules, the suspension “can be revoked”.
Ernest emerged in 2015, with Italian and Swedish investor backing, and is based in Milan. The company has some 200 personnel.
It operates a small fleet of Airbus A320 and A319 jets on routes to destinations in Italy, Spain, France, Ukraine and Albania.
Ernest insists the suspension is “temporary” and that its licence can be restored once it demonstrates compliance with current legislation.
“Our company is taking all the necessary actions aimed at obtaining the revocation of [the prohibition],” it says. But it confirms that ticket sales have been halted for flights departing from 13 January.
It is directing passengers who have already purchased tickets for these flights to obtain a refund.