Russian federal air transport authority Rosaviatsia's chief, Yevgeny Bachurin, is to step down in the wake of the crisis over distressed carrier alliance AirUnion.

Bachurin was appointed to lead the authority in April 2007. Russia's transport ministry says his resignation has been accepted with effect from 1 November.

Speaking to Russian media, Bachurin admitted to being forced to step down. No successor has yet been identified.

Speculation about Bachurin's possible departure have mounted over the past few weeks, following the turmoil in the domestic airline industry centred on AirUnion.

AirUnion's operations were heavily disrupted during August-September, as intense financial pressure left its main carriers unable to purchase fuel, and the alliance has become the subject of a rescue deal.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news