The European Union will introduce restrictions on airliners that do not meet the EU noise and discharge norms. The majority of Russian planes do not meet these requirements. The reason why is very simple: Russia has not been manufacturing new planes lately.
However, this does not mean that the Russian flight companies are not trying to find a way out of the situation. It has been staked not only on the negotiations with the European Union as it is but also on the separate national airlines that have serious commercial interests in Russia. For example, the German Lufthansa.
The Russian Civil Aviation Service and the delegation of the aircraft administration of Germany conducted negotiations on March 11-12 in Moscow. Russia wanted to delay the restrictions on Russian planes flying to Germany. One can not say that Germany agreed with this at once, but, at least, there has been an agreement achieved to continue the talks.
It should be mentioned here that the negotiations between the mentioned organizations were about to fail. Several German newspapers wrote that the Russian Minister for Transport, Sergey Frank, promised to cancel both Lufthansa’s flights to Russian cities and the transit flights over Russian airspace if Germany cancelled the flights of St.Petersburg’s Pulkovo airline (three-thirds of its aircraft stock does not meet the new noise requirements). Wirtschaftswoche newspaper wrote that Stephan Hilsberg, the state secretary of the German Transport Ministry, claimed that “the Russian transport minister was threatening us: 'if there was no exception made for Pulkovo, then the Russian airspace would be closed for Lufthansa’s planes.' However, on March 6th Lufthansa’s representatives said that the German press hurried to make its conclusions and comments. The press service of the Russian Transportation Ministry said that Sergey Frank never made such a statement. Therefore, it was possible to avoid a scandal.
As a matter of fact, the excessive nervousness in negotiations is not needed at all, either for Russia or for its European partners. Both of the parties have considerable economic interests, which can be seriously hurt. The ban to fly to Europe is surely not good for the Russian airlines. The ban on flying to Europe is surely not good for the Russian airlines as well as for aircraft manufacturers. However, these enterprises are not experiencing the best of time anyway, but the interests of those countries where Russian tourists travel to will most likely suffer. Russian people annually leave millions of dollars in Greece, Spain, Italy and bring good money to airports that accept Russian planes. The Western airlines will not be able to totally substitute the Russian airlines, as their tickets are much more expensive. So finding a compromise is in Russia’s and the EU’s interests. Otherwise, the rapprochement between Russia and the European Union may seriously suffer.
Oleg Artyukov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov