2 Jan 2011 15:59

Transport Ministry analyzing contracts between airlines, airports in probing recent collapse

MOSCOW. Jan 2 (Interfax) - The Russian Transport Ministry is analyzing contracts between Moscow airports and airlines to find out who is to blame for the recent collapse in operations at Domodedovo and Sheremetyevo airports caused by icy rains, Transport Minister Igor Levitin told journalists following a ministry conference on Sunday.

"We are examining Domodedovo's contracts with power supply companies to find out who was responsible for the power outage. This was either a force majeure, or someone failed to perform their duties," Levitin said.

The ministry is also examining contracts of Aeroflot, Transaero, and other airlines that delayed or canceled their flights during the collapse, he said.

The Transport Ministry plans to oblige all airports servicing one million people or more to make 30% of their power supply autonomous in 2011, he said.

It was reported earlier that bad weather at the end of December caused delays or cancellations of hundreds of flights at Domodedovo and Sheremetyevo, and thousands of passengers had to wait several days to be flown where they planned.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin harshly criticized the Transport Ministry, the airports, and airlines for their performance during the crisis. Speaking at a government presidium meeting, Putin instructed the Transport Ministry "to analyze everything that relates to the air transportation sector's work in the critical situation and report their proposals on improving the airport sector's work."

"The managers of airlines and airports have said about everything, but they failed to say about one thing. How did they work with the people? They didn't at all," Putin said.

The premier pointed out that, while Domodedovo's power supply had already been cut off, passengers unaware of this kept coming in, which resulted in over 8,000 people accumulating at the airport. "What kind of work is that?" Putin said.

Meanwhile, the consumer protection watchdog, Rospotrebnadzor, said it had questions for four airlines regarding the way they were servicing their passengers during the collapse.

"These are Transaero, Aeroflot, S7, and Ural Airlines," Rospotrebnadzor chief Gennady Onishchenko told Interfax.