MOSCOW, November 20, 20:20 /ITAR-TASS/. A bill banning the operation of commercial jets that have been in service for more than twenty years was submitted to the State Duma Wednesday. Its initiators are two MPs representing the United Russia party, Igor Barinov and Igor Igoshin.
“The bill restricts the term of service of commercial jets used in the transportation of passengers, cargoes, and mail, as well as in other civilian aerial works,” an explanatory note appended with the bill says. “It does not embrace other categories of aircraft, for instance, the jet fleets belonging to the state, experimental aviation, and general-purpose aviation.”
“It’s quite obvious that the changes as sweeping as these ones are impossible to implement in a twinkle of an eye,” Igoshin said.
He admitted that once the bill is signed into law, the Russian airlines will have to decommission a multitude of outdated jets.
“They will be replaced with something else, naturally, and that’s why the bill envisions a transition period that will be given for replacement of the old jets with new ones,” Igoshin said.
“For this purpose, operating of the jets with a service life longer than 20 years will be prohibited only as of 2017,” he said. “More than that, this date may be postponed upon the results of an open discussion with aviation experts and industry executives when the Duma considers the bill in the second reading.”
In any event, the new regulation should take the form of a law, Igoshin said, adding: “The airlines and Russian aircraft manufacturers should get an unambiguous orientation on when the law comes into effect, and draw up their production schedules appropriately.”
“This will make it possible to do a smooth modernization of the fleet of jets and will also give a powerful stimulus to the aircraft manufacturing industry and the high-tech sector of the Russian economy on the whole,” he said.
“A chain of air accidents has sparked a broad public discussion on the admissible duration of airliners’ service,” Igoshin said. He quoted the expert data suggesting an average commercial jet currently in service in this country has an operation record longer than twenty years, while regional airlines sometimes operate the jets commissioned thirty of even more years ago.
“Public reaction shows the passengers who shell out to pay the airfares certainly want to be carried on new rather than worn-out jet and they have every right for this,” Igoshin said.
“Each one of us knows from his or her experience that a new vehicle is more reliable and more secure than the vehicles built decades ago and exploited mercilessly throughout all these years,” he said.
“This postulation applies to jets in absolutely the same way as it applies to cars and that’s why we believe commercial operations of aircraft technologies with the service life exceeding twenty years should be banned,” Igoshin said.
Apart from safety considerations, there are purely economic considerations for this ban, too. For instance, the European association of low-cost airlines, an average jet in their fleets is less than five years old.
“This means that the availability of up-to-date jets is a key factor making it possible to offer tickets at discounted prices,” Igoshin said. “On the contrary, their absence makes flights far less accessible and that’s something we can see here in Russia quite plainly.