RUSSIAN FIRST DEPUTY prime minister Oleg Soskovets, has confirmed that his Government is to establish a federal aviation administration, to improve state control of the civil-aviation industry (Flight International, 21-27 February).

At a transport ministry meeting to review the results of the air-transport industry in 1995, Soskovets said that the move has come about because many shortcomings of Russian civil aviation had originated from a poorly structured system of Government control and inspection. The Department of Air Transport (DAT), Rosaeronavigatsiya (the commission on the use of air space and air-traffic control) and MAK (the CIS Interstate Aviation Committee) all play important, but uncoordinated roles in the process.

The Government is concerned at the collapse in passenger and cargo traffic, attributed by Soskovets to the rising cost of air travel, which "...removed considerable layers of the population from the list of potential clients".

DAT director Gennady Zaitsev, says that in the past five years 457 Russian towns and settlements have closed their airports and suspended air-transport operations.

Another major Government concerns, is the poor flight-safety record of Russian airlines. Soskovets stresses that a considerable number of accidents, were caused by deliberate violations, of flight procedures and lack of attention by airline management to flight safety.

Soskovets calls for a stricter approach to licensing air-transport operators.

Source: Flight International