- RUSSIAN air traffic controllers joke grimly that ageing equipment and
staff cutbacks have reduced their duties to simply noting down take-offs
and landings. There have been 36 air crashes in the Russian Air Force alone
over the past six years, claiming 276 lives.
- A report in Novye Izvestia said that
Russian planes had been "flying blind" since the closure of dozens
of air traffic control centres across the country. The fact that Russia
can barely afford to maintain its ageing fleet of planes is already well
- Even at Sheremetevo II, Moscow's international
airport, air traffic controllers often have to visualise the positions
of incoming planes mentally when equipment fails, the report alleges. Instructions,
says the Union of Air Traffic Controllers, are often based on guesswork.
To economise, many regional airports have limited take-offs and landings
to daylight hours, meaning that these airports are unmanned overnight,
despite the fact that many Russian and foreign airlines use them for emergencies.