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Russia Seeks 11th-Hour Delay to EU Air Freight Rules

Russia is seeking a last-minute delay for new European Union security rules on air freight shipments that are set to come into force next week and which could severely disrupt cargo traffic between Moscow and the 28-member bloc.

Russia insists the EU checks are not necessary because its airlines and airports already meet global air safety standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization, a United Nations agency.

The EU has granted exemptions to its new rules to about 10 countries including the U.S. and Japan, but talks with Russia have broken down.

A spokesman for the Transportation Ministry said officials had sent a letter to the European Commission's director for air transport suggesting a round of last-ditch talks but were yet to receive a reply.

The new rules state that airlines carrying cargo into the EU from July 1 will have to demonstrate that their security procedures have been approved by EU authorities.

Should Russia and the EU fail to agree on a delay soon, EU authorities could grant Russian airlines a grace period of up to six months on an individual basis, meaning freight traffic between the two markets is unlikely to stop completely.

The EU rules were drawn up in 2012 in response to a foiled terrorist plot. Russia is the EU's eighth most important air freight partner.

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