Russia ponders imposing age limit on Western aircraft

Moscow
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Russian legislators are looking to ban domestic airlines from operating foreign aircraft built more than 15 years ago.

Draft legislation to this effect has been introduced by a group of deputies in the State Duma, the parliament's lower house.

It suggests amending the country's air code to limit at 15 years the age of foreign-built commercial aircraft allowed for import by domestic airlines.

"This stipulation would be in line with international practice," says Vladimir Gutenev, first deputy chairman of the Duma's industry committee. "More than 40 countries have adopted limitations on import and operation of foreign aircraft based on their calendar age alone. The prevalent timeframe is 15 years."

A memorandum appended to the draft says the aim is to ensure "restoration of Russia's full sovereignty over aviation safety on internal air services, which use both domestically- and foreign-built aircraft".

The State Duma has initiated the bill after the fatal crash of Tatarstan Airlines' Boeing 737-500 at Kazan Airport last month. The twinjet was built in 1990 and had been in service with six carriers before Tatarstan acquired it in 2008.