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Airlines Braced for New EU Cargo Regulations

Russian carriers could be banned from transporting cargo from Russia to Europe if they fail to comply with new EU regulations that come into effect on July 1, 2014, Kommersant reported Monday.

Airlines who want to avoid the ban will need a third country to authorize their carrier status, but to achieve this they have to carry out audits on airport infrastructure.

The International Air Traffic Association said the airlines themselves would have to pay for the audits — which could cost 18 million to 60 million euros for each airport — and has offered to provide practical seminars to assist companies affected by the regulations.

Last Thursday, Yevgeny Chibirev. head of the Association of Air Traffic Users, asked Transportation Minister Maxim Sokolov to provide recommendations to airlines on how to meet the requirements.

Chibirev said Russian carriers would have to coordinate their flight safety programs with EU authorities and provide them with detailed information on the infrastructure of the airport from which the flight departed.

Cargo carriers argue, however, that airports are not obliged to provide them with the necessary information about customs points and security systems.

In 2010, the EU authorities decided to make cargo checks more rigorous after explosives were found in packages being shipped from Yemen to the United States.

A representative of Volga-Dnepr, the largest Russian cargo carrier, said he does not consider additional audits necessary because "all airlines and airports regularly have their safety standards checked."

The head of Novosibirsk's Tolmachevo airport called the initiative "an attempt to infringe on the rights of Russian airlines and create barriers in Russia on the cargo transportation market.” He said the issue should be resolved on the government level.

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