Russia will continue to charge Siberian overflight fees in defiance of threats from the European Union to hinder its accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Moscow says.

European transport commissioner Jacques Barrot has insisted that Russia’s WTO entry should be conditional on it agreeing to phase out the overflight charges.

But Barrot’s Russian counterpart Igor Levitin says: “These fees have nothing in common with ‘feudal royalties’ as they are being presented. They stem from a system of bilateral air agreements based on a balance of commercial interests between co-signatories.”

A Russian government official with the team negotiating the country’s WTO entry says: “The EU has the right to withdraw its consent [for Russia’s entry into the WTO] before signing a final protocol. But we’ll hold fast to a position that we deem just and fair.”


Source: Flight International