Passengers flying on FSU civil airlines were ten times as likely to die in a crash during the past five years vs. the five years previous. Rudolf Teimurazov, head of Russia’s Intergovernmental Aviation Commission Flight Safety Commission has said that 1,462 air travelers died in CIS civil air-related accidents from 1992-1996. In the previous five-year period, 477 persons died. Add to this the fact that air traffic has dropped dramatically over the same period, from 119 million passengers in 1987 to approximately 37.5 million in 1996. Teimurazov attributed the dramatic rise of air fatalities to a range of factors, including the wholesale deregulation of the airline industry, aging aircraft, the lack of adequate maintenance and overloading. Though the Russian Transport Ministry has said that passengers flying regularly scheduled flights have little to worry about, the US State Department strongly discourages American citizens from flying CIS carriers.
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