Staunton, Jan. 25 – Sanctions have intensified the problems of Russian civil aviation, forcing nine Russian companies to close over the last year, leading to massive and recently legalized cannibalization of planes to keep others flying, and effectively ending all the measures that had been in place to maintain the security of air travel on them.
As a result, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) now rates Russia at the bottom of the list of countries in terms of flight security along only Bhutan and Eritrea, Sibreal journalist Marina Aronova reports (sibreal.org/a/rossiyskaya-aviatsiya-v-usloviyah-sanktsiy/32234493.html).
The situation is a disaster, Andrey Patrakov, founder of a Russian firm involved with the security of air travel. He says that what has happened in the case of Russian carriers is analogous to what happened when McDonald’s closed its restaurants in Russia and then they were taken over by Russian managers.
As long as the hamburger outlets worked as a franchise, he says, “everything was fine. But when management passed to Russians, everything changed immediately. In the toilets, there was no longer enough soap and the floor was dirty. That had happened before but much less often.”
“So what’s the problem? The people were the same and the equipment was the same. But then what had changed?”
The answer is simple: upper level management which no longer was committed to maintaining standards and so “everything began to deteriorate.” The same thing has been happening in Russian civil aviation, Patrakov says, but with this difference. Dirty bathrooms may be an inconvenience but when planes aren’t serviced and maintained properly, people die.
At present, and as a result of the intensification of problems with the branch that have been building for the last two decades, Russian civil aviation is among the three worst in the world, he says. More accidents on carriers under Russian control even if the planes are of Western manufacture are almost a certainty.
Moscow officials may say that “everything is fine with us,” Patrakov concludes, but “I definitely would not.”
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