30-Dec-2010 8:50 AM

Moscow Domodedovo and Sheremetyevo work to resume normal operations

Russia's Moscow Domodedovo Airport announced (29-Dec-2010) it continued operations. As of 15:00, 169 flights, including 83 international and 86 domestic flights has operated from the airport. Five flights for the day were delayed. The airport stated all passengers which had been stranded at the airport due to icy weather had now departed (RIA Novosti/CNN/Dow Jones, 29-Dec-2010/Associated Press/Bloomberg/Reuters/IBNS, 30-Dec-2010). Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport also stated it had returned to normal operations. More than 6500 passengers have been stranded at the two airports over the past 24 hours, according to Russian law enforcement bodies. [more]

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin ordered the Transportation Ministry to launch a review of airlines and airports due to the recent heavy delays at Moscow airports. Mr Putin criticised airport and airline officials for allowing the backlog of passengers at Domodedovo and Sheremetyevo by not advising passengers of the issues and allowing them to continue to enter the airports. Mr Putin advised the airports and airlines to “stop whining and start working”. The Prime Minister also ordered the domestic production of de-icing fluid and a monitoring of power cuts in Moscow. Due to the reviews, Mr Putin has forbidden airport and airlines officials and some government staff from taking leave. The country commences 10 days of public holidays on 01-Jan-2011.

Russian prosecutors have launched investigations into Russian airlines regarding possible violations of passengers rights and has summoned some airline officials for questioning. The Russian Prosecutor General's Office has launched legal proceedings against Transaero and Orenair, as they “failed to provide passengers of delayed flights with the services required by federal aviation rules”. S7 Airlines, UTair and VIM Airlines have also been summoned.

Aeroflot CEO Vitaly Savelyev stated the carrier only has enough de-icing liquid to last until 31-Dec-2010 and is waiting a new delivery of the fluid. The carrier has cancelled 200 flights to/from Moscow over the past several days and 40 flights on 29-Dec-2010. However, it did operate 150 flights for the day, more than the originally scheduled 90 (RIA Novosti, 30-Dec-2010). Mr Savelyev also vowed to compensate passengers whose flights were cancelled or delayed. The carrier planned to fly all passengers stranded in Moscow on 29-Dec-2010 and resume its normal schedule by 00:00 on 31-Dec-2010.

UTair confirmed (28-Dec-2010) its services to/from Domodedovo have been temporarily transferred to Moscow Vnukovo Airport for operations between 29-Dec-2010 to 31-Dec-2010. [more]

Russian Government: “How did you work with people? Not at all. Domodedovo airport was actually left without electricity, but people continued to come to the airport. Where was the alert? It was nowhere ... What work is this, I wonder? You should have warned people that the airport was out of order, no flights possible,” Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister. Source: RIA Novosti, 29-Dec-2010.

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