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Red Wings Faces License Suspension

The license of the airline Red Wings might be suspended in the wake of a recent crash, sources close to the airline and the government of Dagestan told Vedomosti on Thursday.

The report follows unscheduled inspections by the Federal Air Transportation Agency.

The fate of Red Wings, which carries half the passenger traffic between Moscow and Dagestan's capital, Makhachkala, was the focus of a meeting at the Ministry of Transportation on Tuesday.

The agency began inspecting Red Wings after a Tu-204 airliner crashed at Vnukovo Airport on Dec. 29.

The plane veered off the runway, crossed the airport's perimeter and ended up on busy Kievskoye Shosse. Five crew members died, and three more were injured.

The commission investigating the causes of the crash proposed a suspension of Red Wings' license until its recommendations are carried out.

The newspaper's sources did not specify the nature of the recommendations but said the decision on Red Wings may be made Thursday, the report said.

Alexander Lebedev, the owner of Red Wings, did not rule out that its license may be suspended, and he added that such a decision is likely to seal the airline's fate. He said the company had notified Dagestan's government of that possibility.

He also said a suspension may hurt the domestic aircraft industry because Red Wings is the only airline in Russia that has Tu-204 planes in its fleet.

In 2012, Red Wings carried 746,000 passengers in the January-November period, ranking 18th among Russian airlines, Vedomosti said.

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