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Aviation Watchdog Taking Steps to Facilitate Lowcosters

Though Russian air traffic is growing faster than the global average, penetration of low-cost carriers remain low. James F. Clay

The federal air transportation agency, Rosaviatsia, wants to see safety standards at regional airports lowered to help reduce costs and ticket prices, the regulator said in a statement Monday.

Calling the current standards too strict, agency chief Alexander Neradko told a recent meeting with industry officials that his organization had repeatedly submitted draft amendments to current regulations, according to the statement.

"This work must be carried through to its logical conclusion," as part of Rosaviatsia's plan to meet the growing demand for affordable travel, he said.

Neradko named introducing automation in air traffic control as a means to reduce costs. He also said Rosaviatsia was commissioning one of its research institutes to study the experience of leading foreign low-cost airlines, particularly Britain's easyJet.

Rosaviatsia deputy chief Konstantin Makhov told the meeting that Russia's passenger air traffic was growing at a rate of 15 percent to 17 percent a year, compared to the global average of just over 5 percent.

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