Tue, Oct 03, 2006
A Top Russian Government Official Is Worried
Ria Novosti reports Russia's top prosecutor has questioned the
safety of his country's airlines.
Russia's prosecutor-general Yury Chaika spoke to Russian
transport ministry officials during a meeting last week. The
meeting was prompted by an increasing number of aviation accidents
involving Russian airlines.
Just last August, ANN reported 171 people died
when a Tupolev Tu-154 went down in stormy weather enroute to St.
Petersburg. The crew aboard that aircraft reported a fire before
crashing. Aircraft accidents in Russia have claimed over 300 lives
to date this year. Chaika says that exceeds last year's rate.
Prosecutors and ministry officials have been investigating the
country's airports, airlines and agencies responsible for
government oversight of the airline industry.
Chaika says his investigators have discovered some chilling
data. He claims state regulatory agencies aren't doing their jobs.
Airlines and airports aren't obtaining the proper certificates and
permits. The government found Elista Airport in southern Russia
lacked operating certificates and ordered the facility closed.
And even more alarming, there is evidence of the widespread use
of low-quality -- even counterfeit -- aircraft parts by Russian
airlines. The prosecutor's office has launched an industry-wide
investigation to determine just how bad that problem is.
In one case, authorities confiscated around 40 forged stamps and
seals used by suppliers and inspectors to mark and verify the
authenticity of documentation accompanying parts.
Its unclear at this point exactly what steps the Russian
government will take to bring its airlines and agencies back into
Chaika says "The growing number of incidents involving air
carriers fuels fear in society and promotes a lack of trust in
domestic carriers, which is a major blow to Russia's image."
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