Passengers angered by massive disruptions of flights from Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport as a result of an ice storm attacked several employees of Russia's largest air company, Aeroflot, on Tuesday a company source said.
"Several officials who were negotiating with passengers were beaten," the source said, adding that some of those beaten were women.
Thousands of passengers remain stranded at Sheremetyevo and another Moscow airport, Domodedovo, following an ice storm that hit the entire territory of Central Russia over the weekend. Hundreds of flights have been canceled and delayed as severe freezing rain caused serious power outages. Some 20,000 people have been affected by the weather.
Aeroflot has canceled dozens of flights and reportedly failed to provide adequate services and information to thousands of passengers stranded at Sheremetyevo.
Aeroflot employees are afraid to go out to talk to passengers due to the lack of security, the source said.
Airport officials denied reports of beating. "Police units have been strengthened at Terminal D and riot police have also been deployed there," an official said, adding that "such measures help assure passengers' security when flights are canceled or delayed and many people are stranded at the airport."
Russian Transport Minister Igor Levitin criticized the Aeroflot management, saying he had "questions" for the company.
President Dmitry Medvedev has instructed prosecutors to check whether airport authorities and air carriers have taken "all necessary measures" to comply with legislation on air transportation and passenger services in emergency situations.
MOSCOW, December 28 (RIA Novosti)