Monday, September 12, 2011
Blog readers with a particular interest in airline safety regulations will want to pay close attention to developments in Russia over the coming months. President Dmitry Medvedev yesterday announced plans to have regulations in place by November 15, that would allow authorities to shut down the operations of carriers determined to be unsafe. See Dmitry Medvedev Orders Airline Shutdown After Crash, The Daily Telegraph, Sept. 12, 2011 (available here). Additional proposals to increase penalties for safety violations and expand the authority of inspectors are expected to be submitted to the Federal Assembly in December. The Russian government's suddenly acute focus on the domestic airline industry is likely to have ramifications on international aviation beyond stricter safety regulations. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is reportedly overseeing further industry changes which could include shrinking the number of domestic carriers and significant fleet renewal, possibly including purchases from western companies. See Paul Abelsky, Russian Airplane Crash Clouds Putin Goal of Building World-Class Economy, Bloomberg.com, Sept. 9, 2011 (available here); and See Russia Orders Airline Shutdown After Crash, The Hindu, Sept. 11, 2011 (available here). The possible turn to western aircraft would be a notable departure from Russian policies in recent years which, through taxes and government disapproval, have discouraged purchase of foreign aircraft. See Adam Taylor, Here's the Huge Problem With Russia's Airline Industry, Business Insider Europe, Sept. 8, 2011 (available here).