Sir - We were disappointed with the conclusions drawn from the 1996 accidents statistics in the editorial "Freight fright" (Flight International, 15-21 January).

Excluding training accidents, in 1996 there were 13 fatal accidents to cargo aircraft above 5,700kg, and ten of these were to Russian aircraft. Only one accident, the Millon Air 707 accident, was to a Western-built turbine aircraft.

This accident record is actually very good, and you should have spotted where the problem actually lies. An editorial questioning the wisdom of widespread use of CIS aircraft and operators, allowed by airworthiness authorities which give their own companies (and the Western aircraft they fly) a hard time, would have been welcome.

There is not much point in blaming poor training, poor maintenance, crew fatigue, etc, if you do not target it. Western European and US operators do a good job in these areas by and large, but the real culprits are obvious to anyone who studies the accident record. It is amazing that European Union airworthiness authorities allow these CIS aircraft to be based and operated in Western Europe when the aircraft come nowhere near to meeting EU airworthiness standards, and while there is some question about crew competence and training.

These double standards should be addressed.



Air Atlantique

Coventry, UK


Source: Flight International