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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Official: Air Safety Shoddy

Russia has stricter flight safety procedures than most Western nations, but personnel are so poorly trained and paid that the system is dismally implemented, said the country's top civil aviation official.

Alexander Neradko, in an interview with Itar-Tass, urged tighter adherence to safety measures and said Russian airports "badly need additional means of control."

Lamenting several plane crashes in 2001, Neradko said they were "caused by the simplified attitude toward one's professional duties.

"Aviation personnel are not trained well enough."

Neradko, who is also a deputy minister of transport, was quoted as claiming that Russia's system for preventing crashes is exemplary -- when it's followed.

On rickety Russian regional carriers, passengers can be piled in the aisles, seatbelts are hard to come by, and a bribe can sometimes get anything through the security check.

Neradko said legislation is being drawn up to increase the number of flight safety employees and allow background checks on prospective airline pilots and other potential aviation personnel, in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the United States on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and increased air security worldwide.

In an effort to boost morale, Neradko said salaries of pilots are being raised from 15,000 rubles ($490) a month to 40,000 rubles ($1,310) a month.

He also said the number of airlines in Russia had decreased in 2001 from more than 300 to 247, amid efforts to consolidate the industry after years of turmoil in the wake of the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union and the splintering of the massive Aeroflot monopoly.

Twenty airlines lost their licenses and 75 aircraft were removed from service after inspections in the wake of a July crash in the Siberian city of Irkutsk, Itar-Tass said.

Several top regional aviation officials were also fired following the Irkutsk crash.