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Aeroflot Sues Moscow for Traffic Jam

The airline is seeking $3.7 million in damages from City Hall for losses after a traffic jam on Leningradskoye Shosse. Andrei Makhonin

Aeroflot has filed a lawsuit against the Moscow city government, seeking compensation for losses caused by a days-long traffic logjam on a highway leading to Sheremetyevo Airport, court documents showed Wednesday.

City Hall denied any wrongdoing.

Traffic on the busy Leningradskoye Shosse all but came to a standstill at the end of June after city authorities closed off four of its six lanes, citing the need for urgent repairs. They reopened two more lanes after five days of gridlock, following a reprimand from Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

Aeroflot is suing for 113 million rubles ($3.67 million) in damages, according to the lawsuit. The airline has said it lost 700,000 euros ($893,000) on the first day of the congestion and 400,000 euros per day during the next four days.

The first day of the traffic collapse was “disastrous” for the company, as it had to refund 75 percent of the ticket cost to 1,300 passengers who were late for their flights, Aeroflot deputy chief Andrei Kalmykov has said, Interfax reported.

The Moscow city government rejected responsibility for the gridlock.

“We haven't seen this lawsuit so far, but if it really exists, it is the work of a truly sick mind,” said Mayor Yury Luzhkov's spokesman, Sergei Tsoi. “The authors of the lawsuit must give better scrutiny to what actually caused the situation.”

He did not elaborate, but the General Prosecutor's Office blamed City Hall and the Federal Road Agency after an investigation into the matter.

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