What will Russia do to improve domestic airline safety?

President Medvedev laid flowers at the site of the crash in which members of Lokomotiv Yaroslavl ice hockey team lost their lives.

What will Russia do to improve airline safety on domestic flights across Russia and the CIS? Following the tragic air crash that claimed the lives of the entire Lokomotiv ice hockey team from Yaroslavl, Russian President Medvedev held a meeting on investigating the causes of the crash and providing assistance to the victims’ families. The meeting was attended by representatives of the Emergency Situations Ministry, Transport Ministry, Investigative Committee and Presidential Executive Office.

The President expressed his condolences to the families of the crash victims and all fans of the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl ice hockey team. The Yak-42 plane, carrying the Lokomotiv hockey team players, crashed near Yaroslavl and 3 days of mourning have been declared in the Yaroslavl Region.

Speaking to those assembled the President expressed his condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in the crash saying, “This tragedy came as a great shock to the whole country. That is always the case with such accidents but this crash was particularly tragic because the plane was carrying the core members of one of Russia’s and Yaroslavl’s most loved and most successful hockey teams. This is a great loss not only for the players’ families but for the whole nation and for all hockey fans.”

“I have already instructed the Investigative Committee and the Government to thoroughly investigate the circumstances of the crash. A specially created commission will be in charge of the investigation. All of its conclusions must be made public because this is a huge tragedy and a serious air crash that has great resonance in society. The results of the investigation will be reported to me and I will monitor the process personally.”

Russian Federation President Dmitry Medvedev at site of hockey team airplane crash. (photo: Presidential Press Service)

The president addressed regional officials by saying, “we must pay our utmost attention to the training of pilots and flight crews. There are problems in this area, too, and it must also become our priority.”

This is not the first tragic air incident this year and the president admitted that officials have discussed civil aviation safety on many occasions in the past. Acknowledging that domestic airline safety is a serious problem for Russia, Mr. Medvedev promised that changes in the way Russia approaches air travel are being made with substantial funds allocated for 2012 and beyond with the goals of modernization of Russia’s airfields, air traffic control and modern technical equipment for regional airports.