THE RUSSIAN Government is to hold hearings in February on the creation of a new set of airline regulations aimed at bringing urgent improvements to safety levels among the 410 carriers now operating within the country.

Gennady Zaitsev, deputy director of the Russian transport ministry's department of air transport (DAT), believes that the regulations, known as the Air Code, could be approved by the Russian Government and parliament in the first half of this year.

Development of the Air Code was one of the main recommendations of a joint US Federal Aviation Administration/DAT aviation-safety evaluation team which toured 13 cities and 20 airlines in seven different aviation regions in October 1994.

The Air Code and another 30 recommendations were discussed by the joint working group immediately after a Russian-US aerospace conference in San Diego, California, on 9-11 January.

The meeting is being used as a forum for bringing together more than 260 government, airline, airport and other aviation officials from Russia, Ukraine and the USA, and is expected to become the annual focus of Russian-US aerospace co-operation.

Zaitsev says that one recommendation, an increase in safety inspectors at Russian airports, is already being implemented. "This has already been passed by the Government and we will have 280 field inspectors," he says. Joan Bauerlein, director of the FAA's Office of International Aviation says: "Two DAT safety officials will begin Boeing 767 inspector-training this month in Seattle. Classes for DAT inspectors on the Boeing 737 and 757 will take place in the near future."

Bauerlein says that the joint safety-evaluation team "...found that the roles, responsibilities and lines of authority among the many aviation organisations in Russia need clarification. The joint team also found that a dedicated source of funding needs to be identified, if the DAT is to continue to provide adequate safety oversight for Russian transportation operations."

Source: Flight International