Screenshot from the video posted in Vkontalte showing the military-style Russian parade in Barentsburg, the Norwegian Arctic archipelago, on May 9th, 2023.

“We are not disputing this decision. The penalty will be paid”. Russian company fined for a helicopter flight on Svalbard.

February 07, 2024


Russian company Convers Avia Airlines has been fined to pay NOK 50, 000 (around EU 4,400 ) by the Norwegian Civil Aviation Authority after the company’s helicopter participated in a Victory Day parade in Barentsburg on May 9th, 2023, the local media Svalbardposten reported on Wednesday. 

According to the newspaper, Norwegian authorities believe that the “Convers Avia” helicopter flew in the center of the Russian settlement about 50 to 200 feet (15 to 60 meters) above the roofs of the houses in Barentsburg. However, according to Norwegian regulations, the minimum altitude to fly above the settlements is 1,000 feet. So the helicopter was not permitted to fly below this number. According to the newspaper, Norwegian authorities believe such a flight was carried out deliberately and with intent.

The Deputy General Director of “Convers Avia Airlines” Dmitry Zhelezkov answered the Barents Observer questions regarding this case via email:  

The Deputy General Director of “Convers Avia Airlines” Dmitry Zhelezkov. Photo: Convers Avia Airlines

BO: Do you agree with the decision of the Norwegian authorities to fine your company for 50,000 NOK? Why?

Dmitry Zhelezkov: The situation has different interpretations, but the most important thing for us as for the airline is that there were no threats to the safety of flights.

Why did the company’s helicopter fly over Barentsburg on May 9, 2023 and why was it flying so low?

We performed the flight at the request of the Trust (Arktiugol), without passengers on board, and combined this flight with training that allows flights at such a height in accordance with the Helicopter Operating Manual, as well as international and Russian normative documents.

Is the company “Converse Avia” planning to appeal the decision? Is your company planning to pay the penalty?

We are not disputing this decision, the penalty will be paid in accordance with the established order. We promptly resolve all issues that arise directly with the Norwegian Civil Aviation Authority in order to ensure our main task - high-quality and safe operation of the helicopter on Spitsbergen (Svalbard), in compliance with all standards and restrictions, in the interests of our customer - the Trust Arktikugol.


Barentsburg is a small Russian settlement on the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard. The coal-mining town is managed by the Trust Arktikugol - a Russian state company that has been recently involved in a series of symbolic acts on Svalbard that experts see as a way for Russia to assert itself in the Arctic. 

For example, last year a giant Orthodox Christian cross was erected on a hill in the abandoned Russian settlement of Pyramiden on Svalbard. The Governor of Svalbard Lars Fause ordered the cross to be removed

The May 9th Parade in Barentsburg was also organized by the Arktikugol. The date 9th of May is celebrated in Russia as a big national day of commemoration of the victory in Great Patriotic War - the name of World War II in Russia. The topic of World War II, it’s memory, has been actively used by state propaganda in Russia. Last year, when asked by The Barents Observer to answer to the accusations that some actions, such as military-style parades on the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, could be seen as provocative, the representative of the Trust Arktiugol Dmitry Negrutsa said:  


“The Victory Day parade was an important holiday for the residents of Barentsburg. After all, this is a day of great sorrow for everyone in the world - this is the day of remembrance of those who fell in the Great Patriotic War, the day of the unity of peoples. To our great regret, the media gave it the status of a “provocation”.




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