The Russian government has tightened certification regulations of Russian airlines to drive many out of business, says deputy transport minister Karl Ruppel.

The move is designed to encourage "strong and healthy" companies to absorb smaller ones, to reverse the industry's decline in the international market. Although traffic rose 7% last year to 64.6 billion revenue passenger kilometres, Ruppel says, most of the growth has come from the domestic market. "A new business model has to be formed. Without consolidation, we can not improve international competitiveness," he adds.

Increasing competition has also led to lapses in safety: "We face very serious challenges in the flight safety area," Ruppel says.

Source: Flight International