Medvedev says domestic airlines should be ’radically reduced’

Medvedev says domestic airlines should be ’radically reduced’
# 08 September 2011 12:09 (UTC +04:00)
Baku - APA-Economics. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has demanded a drastic cut in the number of domestic airlines, a day after a plane crash wiped out the entire major ice hockey league team Lokomotiv Yaroslavl.

Speaking at the crash site just outside Yaroslavl on the Volga River on Thursday, Medvedev said it was "about time to see how air carriers operate."

"The number of [domestic] airlines should be radically reduced," Medvedev added.

Russia has approximately 85 airlines presently operating in the country.

Lokomotiv’s chartered Yak-42 came down shortly after take-off on Wednesday as the team were heading to the Belarusian capital Minsk for the season’s first match.

The Yak-42 dates from the 1970s, and is one of the workhorses of the Russian aviation industry, along with the Tupolev Tu-154.

Aviation officials said the jet, operated by the domestic Yak-Service airline, failed to gain altitude possibly due to poor quality fuel and struck a radio mast.

Russia has a very poor air safety record. In July, a passenger plane crashed in northwest Russia, killing 44 people.