Putin stresses air transportation development for Russia

08:32, July 08, 2010      

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Air travel safety, airport services, and airfield development were among the key issues Prime Minister Vladimir Putin addressed on the second day of his trip to North Caucasus, local media reported Wednesday.

During a meeting with the aviation industry's heads, Putin spoke both about the general situation in Russia's airports property and about specific problems in the sector.

Putin ordered the simplification of customs and border procedures in the airports after the CEO of Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport, Mikhail Vasilenko, complained that the border service in all Russian international airports provided excessive control over passengers' baggage.

Stavropol governor Velery Gaevsky mentioned an incident in Stavropol airport that happened last spring, when customs clearance lasted for nine hours and led to a public outcry.

Putin said, who requested a special report about the incident, also said it was necessary to draft a special law regulating the work of the airports in Russia.

"The law must describe, for example, the relations between civilian and military aviation when they share the same airport property," Putin said.

He added that the Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Defense Ministry "should work harder to reach the deals."

He also ordered a list of the airports that will be supported by the federal budget in the next three years.

Separately, Putin demanded to keep monitoring the situation on the highway leading to Sheremetyevo airport. Traffic congestion there virtually cut off the airport from downtown Moscow last week.

In that connection, Minister of Transportation, Igor Levitin, offered to set the upper limit of air traffic in Moscow's airports at 40 percent of total national traffic.

Currently, Moscow serves 50 percent of all flights in Russia. Levitin proposed to use airports in Yekaterinburg, Novosibirsk, Khabarovsk and Vladivostok as transfer stations in order to lessen the burden on Moscow.

Russian air transportation boomed in 2010 with an increase of more than 30 percent in the number of travellers, year-on-year, Putin said.

For the past two years, 47 billion rubles (1.5 billion U.S. dollars) had been spent for airport modernization, he said.

The number of passengers in the first five months of 2010 was more than that of the entire 2008, the best year so far for national airlines.

Nonetheless, the CEO of the Aeroproject Institute, Alexei Titov, warned that starting from 2011 all three Moscow airports will be working in overload conditions unless extra funds are allocated.

He pointed out that the runway in the largest Moscow airport Domodedovo "has been in critical condition" and it needs reconstruction before 2012.

Source: Xinhua


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