Moscow wants report on UN role in probing MH17 crash

A photo taken on September 9, 2014 shows part of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 at the crash site in the village of Hrabove (Grabovo), some 80km east of Donetsk. The Malaysian passenger jet which blew up over rebel-held east Ukraine with the loss of all 298 people on board was hit by numerous "high-energy objects", according to a report on September 9, 2014 which could back up claims it was downed by a missile. While the preliminary report from Dutch investigators does not point the finger of blame over the July disaster, it could heighten Western pressure against Moscow over its role in the bloody Ukraine conflict. AFP PHOTO/ ALEXANDER  KHUDOTEPLY

A photo taken on September 9, 2014 shows part of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 at the crash site in the village of Hrabove (Grabovo), some 80km east of Donetsk. The Malaysian passenger jet which blew up over rebel-held east Ukraine with the loss of all 298 people on board was hit by numerous “high-energy objects”, according to a report on September 9, 2014 which could back up claims it was downed by a missile. While the preliminary report from Dutch investigators does not point the finger of blame over the July disaster, it could heighten Western pressure against Moscow over its role in the bloody Ukraine conflict. AFP PHOTO/ ALEXANDER KHUDOTEPLY

Russia’s U.N. ambassador says Ukrainian rebels and the Russian government were blamed for involvement in the crash of a Malaysian Airlines jet in July without any proof as part of “an information war.”

Vitaly Churkin told the U.N. Security Council Friday that the only way a transparent and objective international investigation can be carried out is with the participation of the United Nations.

Churkin, who called for the council meeting, said the preliminary report into the crash released Sept. 9 “is not really informative.” It said the Boeing 777 was likely struck by multiple “high-energy objects from outside the aircraft,” causing its breakup over eastern Ukraine.

He said Russia has new questions stemming from the report and called for the release of alleged information on what happened, including satellite photos.

Capt. Ivan

Russian airlines hire 200 foreign pilots

The appointments were made possible thanks to a recent change in the rules. Analysts believe this decision will allow airlines to cut spending on training pilots, who have not accumulated the required amount of flight hours.

Major Russian airlines have taken advantage of a change in legislation to hire 200 foreign pilots, the Federal Air Transport Agency (Rosaviatsia), has announced.

According to an official statement circulated by the agency’s press service, the biggest number of foreign pilots have been hired by Aeroflot (a total of 80), with Russia’s second-biggest airline, Transaero, coming a close second with 67 foreign recruits.

The other airlines filed considerably fewer applications. For example, the Siberian airline Utair will be able to hire 14 foreign pilots, with KogalymAvia and Vim-AVIA, which specialize in charter flights, getting seven pilots each.

Most of the pilots will be arriving from Western Europe, the Russian business daily Vedomosti reports. For example, according to the paper, Aeroflot has hired most of its new pilots in Germany.
“Russian airlines have been lobbying for allowing foreign pilots onto the domestic market for about three years. The most interested parties were Aeroflot and Transaero, the country’s biggest carriers,” says UFS IC analyst Anna Milostnova.

According to her, the main reason behind these recent amendments to the air transport legislation is the rapid growth of the Russian aviation industry, by an average 15-20 percent a year, which has resulted in a shortage of pilots qualified to serve as captains. For example, Aeroflot estimated the shortage of first pilots at 1,000 people, Milostnova says.

In the spring of 2014, Rosaviatsia allowed Russian airlines to hire 200 foreign pilots every year over a period of five years.

Under the new procedure, airlines submitted applications for hiring foreign pilots to the Federal Air Transport Agency, while the agency decided how many pilots each airline could hire. The decision on each airline was taken through an algorithm based on the company’s air traffic in 2013, Rosaviatsia explained.

Now Rosaviatsia will hand over the applications to the Federal Migration Service (which issues work permits to foreigners) and the airlines will be able to sign contracts with foreign pilots. Further applications to hire foreign pilots can be filed next year.

Previously, Russian airlines were banned from hiring foreign pilots. However, in 2013, the ban was lifted for a period of five years. Interestingly, at first Rosaviatsia planned to hire 1,100-1,500 foreign pilots every year, but in the end, the figure was significantly cut.

“Foreign pilots must have been offered a competitive salary, which may even be higher than in Europe, and an attractive benefits package,” says leading analyst with Finam Management Dmitry Baranov.
Furthermore, he continues, a system of additional benefits may have been set up for foreign pilots. Anna Milostnova agrees.

“Russian airlines realize that in order to hire European pilots, they will have to offer them attractive conditions. Some surveys have shown that in major Russian airlines, pilots’ remuneration is in no way inferior to their European counterparts,” she says.

At the same time, experts stress, there is no shortage of pilots in Russia per se, but there is a shortage of pilots with a large number of flight hours.

“Russia did not and does not have a shortage of pilots in general. However, airlines do not seem to be prepared to spend money on retraining pilots to qualify as captains,” explains Milostnova.
In Europe, the aviation industry is more mature and grows at a slower pace than in Russia, just 5 percent a year, she continues.

“For Russian airlines, the opportunity to hire foreign pilots is, of course, a big plus. In addition to filling the gap, it will also increase completion among pilots,” Milostnova concludes.

Source & Pic: Russia & India Report

Richard Branson: Russia Would Suffer Most From Closing Airspace to Western Airlines

Russia would be the biggest loser if it carried out a threat to ban Western airlines from flying over its territory, Richard Branson, the founder of British airline Virgin Atlantic, said.

“It would cost us quite a lot of money but it would actually cost Russia more money. They charge enormous amounts of money for the privilege of flying over Russia,” Branson said on the sidelines of a conference in Kiev.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signaled last week that Moscow might ban Western airlines from flying over its territory as part of an “asymmetrical” response to new European Union sanctions over the Ukraine crisis.

A new wave of EU and U.S. sanctions came into effect on Friday as the West steps up pressure on Russia, accusing it of fomenting the conflict in eastern Ukraine and arming the rebels battling Kiev’s forces. Moscow denies the accusations.

“What is interesting is that the EU to date have not charged Russian airlines anything for the privilege of flying over Europe. So I think Russia would lose a lot more than European airlines if they impose that,” said Branson.

He added that the EU would almost certainly retaliate to a flight ban with a similar move against Russian airlines.
Asked how his own airline would respond to such a ban, Branson said: “If we have to fly around Russia we will have to fly around Russia. And you know obviously we are ready to do that. But I’d rather fly around Russia than see people being killed in Ukraine. I think that has got to stop.”

Virgin Atlantic is 51 percent owned by Branson.

Last month, Branson organized an open letter signed by Western, Ukrainian and Russian businessmen calling on governments in Kiev, Moscow and Western capitals to “compromise and find a peaceful solution to the current conflict.”

On Friday he reiterated his call for greater efforts to end the five-month conflict, in which more than 3,000 people have been killed and hundreds of thousands displaced.

A cease-fire agreed one week ago between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian separatists has been broadly holding in recent days, despite sporadic violations.

Source & Pic:  Moscow Times

 

Irkut will build the first MC-21 by the end of year

800px-MS-21-Model-1821

Russian airplane manufacturer Irkut has announced that is on course to manufacture the first prototype of the MC-21 narrow body airliner by the end of present year.

Irkut president Oleg Demchenko remarked the “major milestones” of the MC-21 program at the Paris Air Show, among these were the siging of a supplier’s contract.  “Our aircraft is turning from paper to metal” Mr. Demchenko announced.

The designer plans that the MS-21 will be 10-15% more efficient than Airbus and Boeing aircraft in the same class and it will have a 15% structural weight efficiency advantage, 20% lower operating costs, and 15% lower fuel consumption than the Airbus A320 with an initial target price of 35 Million.

Irkut is developing the MC-21 with variants that range from 150 to 210 passenger seats.  First flight is planned for 2015 and entry in service by 2017.

Recently, Pratt & Whitney and Irkut Corp. signed an agreement to offer the PW1400G engine on Irkut’s MC-21 family of aircraft. It will be the only western powerplant offered on the new narrowbody program.

Author:  Capt. Ivan

  •   GDL 39