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    Russia's transport watchdog concerned over age of domestic aircraft

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    MOSCOW, February 26 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's transport watchdog voiced concern over the country's ageing fleet of domestic passenger airliners on Tuesday.

    "The average age of long-distance passenger airliners continues to grow, and now stands at 20 years, while the average age of regional aircraft is close to 32 years. Problems with the reliability of components, their high cost and an ill-organized system of replacing failed parts cause special concern," said Gennady Kurzenkov, head of the Federal Agency on Transport Supervision, Rostransnadzor.

    Kurzenkov said there were also a large number of river and river-sea vessels that had been in operation for some 30-50 years.

    "These vessels are used exclusively for the purpose of deriving profit while only minimum funds are allocated to make them more reliable," he said.

    Kurzenkov also criticized the condition of the railway sector's rolling stock.

    The intensive use of the transport infrastructure was also increasing the risks of accidents and emergency situations, Kurzenkov said, adding that Rostransnadzor had carried out over 225,000 inspections in the transport sector in 2007, exposing more than 350,000 violations.

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