“We had recruited personnel especially for them and created a maintenance group, but restoring the aircraft’s airworthiness is a costly affair. They had been operated flat out with little care taken”.
They spent money recruiting people and building a maintenance pool before looking at the aircraft?
I agree, it's weird.
However, a more worrying question that that statement leads to is (and I assume these aircraft were flown in passenger service by Transaero right up until the bancruptcy a year or so ago): If it's a question of "restoring the aircraft's airworthiness", how could they be flying with Transaero? How can airline A deem an aircraft not airworthy, that airline B happily flies more than 500 people around in? When both airlines are from the same country, i.e. under the scrutiny of the same authority? How did Transaero get away with that (flying the aircraft "flat out with little care taken")? Or did something simply expire (some documentation, for example?) while the aircraft were grounded? Or is it simply semantics, that it is not really about the airworthiness, but rather just too expensive to get them in mint condition compared to their market value? What does this say about the supervision of the authorities in Russia today?
Please, it's an honest question, not trying to bash Russia or any airline, I'm just simply curious.