MOSCOW, November 21 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s state aviation watchdog will soon finish a snap inspection of an airline whose plane crash last weekend caused the deaths of 50 people, the agency head said Thursday.
The inspection of Tatarstan Airlines will be completed by the end of the week, Alexander Neradko said, and the results will determine the fate of the company’s operations.
Pilot error is believed to have been responsible for the crash of a Boeing 737 plane operated by Tatarstan Airlines on November 17 in Kazan, the capital of Russia’s republic of Tatarstan. All 44 passengers and six crew members on board were killed.
Crash investigators said that the plane’s flight recorders showed the pilots were making a second landing attempt after missing the first approach, and were trying to land the plane manually.
Tatarstan Airlines director Aksan Giniyatullin said the pilot had no real experience in handling a missed approach, but insisted the crew was highly experienced.
Russia and the CIS region had the worst overall air safety record in the world in 2011, as tracked by the International Air Transport Association. While many of Russia’s largest carriers have improved their reputation over recent years, poor airplane maintenance and pilot overwork contribute to a high accident rate among regional carriers.
Currently, only 25 airlines in Russia and the CIS have completed the IATA’s safety audit, called IOSA. Tatarstan Airlines is one of them.