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Swiss air-traffic controllers blamed for catastrophe

Bashkir Airlines head Nikolai Odegov on 3 July denied claims that the midair crash of a Bashkir Airlines Tu-154 passenger jet and a Boeing 757 cargo jet late on 1 July was caused by pilot error on the Bashkir jet, RIA-Novosti and other Russian news agencies reported on 3 July.

Odegov also disputed claims that the pilots of the chartered Tu-154 were inexperienced and not sufficiently fluent in English. A travel agent who helped organize the trip said on 3 July that 45 of the 69 people on the passenger jet were known to be children or teenagers, fewer than the 52 reported earlier by officials, according to AP.

CIS Committee proposed ban on charter flights days before tragedy

Regions.ru had reported on 26 June that the CIS Aviation Committee proposed banning all charter flights by CIS operators because of the high number of air accidents and low safety standards. The committee's statement, published by avia.ru on 26 June, said that nearly every second charter flight by CIS carriers results in an accident or other incident, and the number of aviation disasters for charter flights in the CIS is 10 times higher than that among airlines' regular routes. At the same time, the number of charter flights on long-distance routes is increasing steadily and is nearly 30 percent of the market today, according to the committee statement.

(RFE/RL 03.vii.02)

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