Prime minister wades into AeroSvit crisis

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Troubled Ukrainian carrier AeroSvit is preparing a temporary schedule while the country's government is stepping in to repatriate passengers stranded by the airline's operational problems.

The carrier says the schedule will cover the period to 15 January.

It is apologising to passengers for the disruption to its services and says it will provide "clear information" on the timetable in order to prevent delays and flight cancellations.

The heavily-indebted airline has been struggling to maintain operations in the face of a financial crisis and problems affecting its European services have extended to the airline's Bangkok and New York flights.

Ukrainian prime minister Mykola Azarov has become involved in the situation, ordering ministers to develop measures to resolve the problem.

"The main thing is to return people home," he says. Ukraine's infrastructure ministry is intending to make urgent use of a reserve fund to pay for repatriation.

Azarov says the government is "producing solutions to defuse the situation". Passengers delayed by AeroSvit's inability to operate from overseas destinations will be offered assistance through a foreign ministry hotline.