YAROSLAVL, September 9 (Itar-Tass) —— The Russian Ministry of Transport has not clear plans how to reduce the number of airlines in the country, deputy minister Valery Okulov told journalists on Thursday.
Earlier in the day, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev demanded to radically reduce the number of airlines in Russia.
At the meeting at the operational headquarters dealing with the consequences of the Yak-42 crash near Yaroslavl, Medvedev said he would give corresponding directions to the government. The civil aviation situation in Russia must be radically changed, the president stressed. "The number of airlines must be radically decreased, and it must be done in the shortest period," he ordered. Only those airlines must remain that have forces and means to maintain the air fleet, employ qualified personnel and pay good wages to them, the president noted. “It was repeatedly talked about that there are too many of them, but I have seen no decisions related to their merger or liquidation,” Medvedev noted.
He urged to renovate the fleet of aircraft in the interests of passengers rather than in interests of manufacturers. “The value of the human life must prevail over any other considerations, including the support to domestic manufacturers.” He also urged for more control of pilot training and to “fire all those who cannot work.”
Okulov confirmed that from January 1, 2012 Russian planes will be obliged to have additional equipment, such as safe altitude warming systems, etc. Such equipment is lacking in Tu-134, An-24 and An-26 planes, which will be withdrown from use.
He also noted that from January 1, 2012, each company offering long-distance regular flights will have to have at least ten aircraft seating more than 50 passengers, and at least 20 planes of the same type from January 1, 2013. These requirements are not applicable to airlines serving business companies.