Russian Air Transport Agency responds to pilots' claims on agency’s arbitrariness

Russian Air Transport Agency responds to pilots' claims on agency’s arbitrariness

Federal Air Transport Agency Rosaviatsiya announced that in five years only 400 pilots’ licenses were annulled and every case is fully justified. The pilots argue that the Russian agency removes the competitors of educational institutions subordinate to it from the market, and complained about the arbitrary behavior of the department in the International Civil Aviation Organization.

Sergey Izvolsky, the Rosaviatsiya spokesman, commenting on the petition of the flight crew (available in RBC), who complained to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) about the arbitrariness of the Russian agency, told RBC that in the past five years Rosaviatsiya canceled "just over 400 pilots' licenses".

The fact that Russian pilots and industry workers complained to the ICAO on the actions of Rosaviatsiya was covered on May, 4 by Kommersant with reference to the petition of employees of the aviation industry. The pilots demand "to stop arbitrariness on the part of Rosaviatsiya regarding aviation experts and training centers". The document states that the agency revoked the licenses of hundreds of experts, "often without explaining the reasons or differently interpreting the laws". The authors of the petition fear that another thousand of licenses may be revoked in the near future.

As Sergey Izvolsky explained, it refers to both commercial aviators that deal with the transportation of passengers and cargo, and private ones. According to him, the main reason for the deprivation of licenses is falsified or forged data. "During ongoing inspections (we conduct inspections together with the Prosecutor General's Office, the Investigative Committee), we identified pilots that provided either forged medical certificates or falsified information about theoretical and practical training (real flying hours)", he said.

Another reason for the revocation of licenses, Izvolsky noted, is that aviation training centers (ATS) "can not train commercial pilots a priori". "The pilot profession can only be given by those educational institutions that have a commercial pilot program approved by Rosaviatsiya. Such programs exist only in flight schools and higher educational institutions of civil aviation, subordinated to Rosaviatsiya", he said.
Vladimir Tyurin, the head of the board of the Interregional Public Organization of Pilots and Aircraft Owners (AOPA-Russia), is convinced that Rosaviatsiya has a conflict of interest with non-state aviation training centers (ATS).

"Ulyanovsk and St. Petersburg universities of civil aviation are subordinate enterprises of the Federal Air Transport Agency. And Rosaviatsia finances them. At the same time, it certifies [commercial] aviation training centers. A clear conflict of interest appears. Obviously, they will force these centers out of the market", he told RBC.

Vladimir Tyurin clarified that the conflict had been lasting for many years. "Rosaviatsiya's stand is that commercial and line pilots should be trained only by state universities. And ATSs were initially created only for private pilots", he said. According to him, at a certain moment when state universities could not cope with the retraining of specialists, the Ministry of Transport launched a program to attract ATSs. "Hundreds, if not thousands of navigators and flight engineers were re-trained as pilots. And these people, who fell under this program, now fall into this disgrace, and Rosaviatsiya deprives them of their pilots' licenses", Tyurin added.

The official representative of Rosaviatsiya in his turn stated that "there is no conflict of interest" since "civil aviation training institutions train for the profession, and an aviation training center trains a private pilot". In his opinion, Russia has no aviation training center that would have the needed number of simulators, aircrafts and personnel for the preparation of commercial pilots.

Alfred Malinovsky, the vice-president of the trade union of the flight crew of Russia, in a conversation with RBC said that Rosaviatsiya itself sanctioned the creation of ATSs. "Rosaviatsiya viewed the appearance of these pseudo-educational institutions, which sort of taught pilots, in a favorable light. And now it inhibits the implementation of these licenses itself. That is, the left hand does not know what the right hand does. Though, on second thought, it probably knows ... ", he said.    

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