The number of Russian air traffic incidents, including crashes and technical problems, has doubled year-on-year to 16 in January-September, Russia's chief air traffic security official, Sergei Masterov, said on Thursday.
Masterov said eight air crashes and eight technical incidents occurred in Russia over the period compared to two crashes and seven incidents in the same period last year. He said most of the crashes in 2011 involved aircraft with over 30 seats.
One of the most devastating air crashes in the past two years was a plane crash that killed 43 people, including the crew and the regional hockey team Lokomotiv on September 7 this year and another one when the Polish presidential plane crashed in Smolensk last April killing 97 top brass officials of the country.
Masterov said the air incident statistics had been on the rise since 2007.
In a bid to tackle the issue, Russia’s Transport Minister Igor Levitin has instructed the nation’s aviation authority Rosaviatsia to compile a database of pilots accessible to all airlines with information including their training, experience and number of flight hours.
The database will also include information about any infractions of flight rules by pilots, which "should be a signal for the managers of another company,” Levitin said at a flight safety meeting on October 10.
Russia has a small number of modern airlines which carry the vast majority of its passengers, and a large number of tiny carriers with a handful of aircraft, many of which are old and often poorly maintained.