Europe trying to squeeze out Russian aircraft - AF chief

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Europe's ban on incoming flights by Russian jets failing to comply with its new noise and safety standards is aimed at making the country's aircraft industry less competitive, the Russian Air Force commander said Saturday.

MONINO (Moscow Region), June 3 (RIA Novosti) - Europe's ban on incoming flights by Russian jets failing to comply with its new noise and safety standards is aimed at making the country's aircraft industry less competitive, the Russian Air Force commander said Saturday.

"The ban on some Russian jets' flights into European countries has been imposed at the ICAO's [International Civil Aviation Organization] decision. But this is also being done to squeeze Russia's aviation industry," said Vladimir Mikhailov.

ICAO regulators demand that all craft entering Europe's airspace be fitted out with airborne collision avoidance systems and altimeters, as well as meet the continent's new noise standards.

Mikhailov said Russia would have no technical difficulties converting its aircraft to European and U.S. standards, but that this would put an additional financial strain on the industry.

He expressed certainty that Russian military freighters would not lose their competitive edge. "NATO has no aircraft as good as [our] An-24 and An-22," he said.

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