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Russia readies rule change on foreign-pilot recruitment

Russian authorities are putting the finishing touches to legislation designed to allow domestic carriers to hire foreign flightcrew.

The transport ministry says the legal department of the presidential administration has endorsed the relevant draft, which is now being studied by other branches of the executive.

It envisages establishing an annual quota allowing recruitment of up to 200 foreigners as first officers in each of the five years following adoption of an appropriate decree.

Transport minister Maksim Sokolov expects this proposal to be sent to the State Duma, the lower house of Russian parliament, in December.

"Major conciliatory procedures are over," he says. "Hopefully, the bill will be voted through in every stage of its passage. We'll do our best in order to implement it within the next three months."

Sokolov adds: "This will be in the interests of all our airlines and passengers because the current lack of domestically trained pilots effectively hinders the development of air services."

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