The Aeroflot airline company increased its passenger traffic by 15.7 percent to 1,336,500 people in the first quarter of 2004 compared with the same period last year. According to the company's press service, Aeroflot's cargo traffic was up 31 percent to 31,800 tons. Passenger traffic was 4.357bn passengers per km (up 14.9 percent), and cargo traffic was 577.1m tons per km (up 22.7 percent). Passenger load factor was 68.2 percent, 4.9 percent more than in the corresponding period last year. Aeroflot spent 266,300 tons of aviation fuel.
In March, the company's passenger traffic was 468,500 people (up 14.2 percent), including 2,700 charter flight passengers, and the cargo traffic was 13,500 tons (up 31.2 percent). Passenger load factor was 66.9 percent , 1.8 percent more than in March 2003.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at a briefing in Beijing that the question about the shipment of S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems to Syria had not been resolved yet. However, Syrian Ambassador to Russia Riyad Haddad said that S-300 missile systems had been delivered to Syria last month
Representatives of the Israeli Defence Ministry responded to recent reports about the possible delivery of S-300 SAM systems from Russia to Syria. Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that Israel would destroy those systems