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Tuesday, 2 July, 2002, 12:51 GMT 13:51 UK
Russian airline's 'good safety record'
Bashkirian Airlines jet
Bashkirian Airlines split 10 years ago from Aeroflot
Before one of them collided with a cargo jet in mid-air, Bashkirian Airlines had eight Tupolev 154s in its fleet of 39 Soviet-designed planes.

The state carrier for the Russian Republic of Bashkortostan, Bashkirian was one of 400 companies formed after the Soviet-era Aeroflot airline was broken up.

It serves mainly Russia and the former Soviet republics, but also operates some charter flights to other destinations.

The former Soviet air fleet has been plagued by safety problems since the collapse of the Communist regime in 1991.

Accidents have generally been attributed to cash shortages, which lower already poor maintenance standards and place extra pressure on air crews.

But Russian aviation expert Paul Duffy says Bashkirian Airlines had not had any serious accidents in the past 10 years since it separated from Aeroflot.

"If you had asked me yesterday, I would have said the airline is quite safe," he said.

Some of the more serious passenger plane crashes involving the airlines serving the former Soviet republics include:

  • July 2001: A Tu-154 crashes in the Siberian city of Irkutsk, killing all 143 on board
  • 15 December 1997: A Tu-154 from the former Soviet republic of Tajikistan crashes in the United Arab Emirates, killing 85 passengers and crew
  • 18 March 1997: 50 passengers and crew die when the tail of their An-24 charter plane breaks off in mid-air while en route to Turkey
  • 29 August 1996: A Tu-154 passenger plane carrying Russian and Ukrainian miners and their families to work on Norway's Arctic island of Spitzbergen crashes into a mountain top, killing all 143 on board
  • 7 December 1995: A Tu-154 with 97 people on board disappears en route to the far eastern city of Khabarovsk
  • 26 September 1994: A Yak-40 airliner crashes while trying to reach an airport in Siberia to make an emergency landing in bad weather. All 26 people on board die
  • 23 March 1994: An Airbus A-310 belonging to Aeroflot crashes near Novokuznetsk, killing 70 people
  • 3 January 1994: All 124 people on board a Tu-154 plane are killed when it crashes in Siberia, as well as a farmer on the ground.

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01 Nov 00 | In Depth
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