Safety record

 

Thirty-three Russian aviation accidents occured in 2006, leaving 318 dead, according to a report by the Interstate Aviation Committee (IAC), a joint group involving former Soviet states.

 

"Our investigations into accidents... point to major faults in the professional training of crews as well as their inability to appreciate the seriousness of situations and react in an appropriate manner"

Interstate Aviation Committee report

The 2006 figures represent a six-fold increase in accidents over 2005.

 

"These events always reflect the shortcomings in the industry," Mikhail Fradkov, Russia's prime minister, said.

 

The cause of the crash in Samara was unclear, though the prosecutor general said in a statement that the plane had hit the ground 400m short of the landing strip, attributing pilot error as a preliminary cause.

 

The IAC report found the same culprit in over two-thirds of Russia's air accidents over the past five years.

 

"Our investigations into accidents... point to major faults in the professional training of crews as well as their inability to appreciate the seriousness of situations and react in an appropriate manner," the report, released last week, said.

 

Ageing fleet

 

Saturday's accident came three days after a Boeing 737 carrying 143 passengers made an emergency landing in Moscow after reporting engine problems. No one was injured in that incident.

 

An air safety commission announced in January that the average age of the country's international airliners was 18, and its regional jets 30.

 

Aviation officials announced plans in February to replace Russia's fleet of Tu-134 and Tu-154 jets with more modern aircraft, but said the process would take five years.