Medvedev demands improvement of air safety

Updated: 2011-09-08 22:32


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MOSCOW - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Thursday demanded improvement of the country's air industry safety through reducing small airlines, upgrading air fleets and enhancing pilot training.

Medvedev demands improvement of air safety

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev visits the site of a plane crash near the Russian city of Yaroslavl, September 8, 2011. A passenger plane carrying a Russian ice hockey team to a season-opening match crashed after takeoff from a provincial airport on Wednesday, killing 43 people and plunging the Russian and international sports world into grief. [Photo/Agencies]

The president arrived Thursday morning in Yaroslavl, where a Yak-42 plane crash killed 43 people Wednesday. He laid flowers at the crash site and held a moment of silence to mourn the victims.

Medvedev told reporters at the site that the number of domestic small airlines should be "radically" reduced, while promising the government will also take measures to upgrade the country's aircraft fleet.

He also has ordered the Transport Ministry and relevant departments to pay attention to the training of civil aviation pilots in Russia.

"We must give the most serious attention to the assessment of piloting skills. They are not quite all right so far," he was quoted by Interfax news agency as saying.

Those who are not ready to work must be dismissed, the president said.

"The human factor invariably suggested in such accidents happens everywhere, including this country. We must do our best to minimize its effect," he added.

The Yak-42 is one of the outdated workhorses of Russian aviation industry, along with the Tupolev Tu-154.

Russia has a poor air safety record. In June, a Tu-134 passenger plane crashed in northwest Russia, killing 44 people.

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