Two pilots have reportedly each been sentenced to at least five years' imprisonment for the fatal Boeing 737-200 crash outside Bishkek last year.

The captain of the Itek Air aircraft has been sentenced to serve five years and two months in a penal colony, while the co-pilot will serve five years, state local Kyrgyz media.

Shortly after departing Bishkek for Tehran as flight 6895 on 24 August 2008 the aircraft attempted to return to the airport following a technical problem.

But while it was trying to stabilise its approach to the airport, the jet failed to maintain height and crashed into a field, killing 64 of the 90 occupants.

In its final report into the accident, released in May, Russia's Interstate Aviation Committee concluded that the crew had failed to follow standard operating procedures.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news