Vladimir Putin called on the government to create conditions for development of regional air transportation. He stated it during a meeting with government representatives dedicated to fulfillment of tasks set by the president in his letter to the Federal Assembly and orders signed in May 2012.
According to the president’s press-service, one of the major items of the agenda was future of regional air transportation. «Today the passenger traffic on regional air lines increased by 11% as compared to last year and reached 41,5 million passengers. Last year the passenger traffic growth rates for international air lines significantly exceeded the indicators for domestic air lines, however, this year the trend changed: passenger traffic on regional air lines grows three times faster as compared to international air lines. Passenger traffic of Russian carriers on domestic air lines has already reached 20 million passengers. These milestones have been reached thanks to programs aimed at supporting the regional transportation. There are 5 such programs; about 9 billion rubles will be allocated by the Ministry of Transport for supporting the regional air transportation. This support will allow the carriers to transport additional 1,5 million passengers and open 80 new destinations», - Minister of Transport, Maxim Sokolov, said.
The president, in his own turn, reminded that some governors asked to help them transfer some infrastructure facilities to the ministry. «We have made a decision to develop the regional air lines and we must establish a company responsible for it. The government has signed corresponding documents. We must take this infrastructure away from them», - Vladimir Putin said.
In addition, Sokolov said that the government of Russian Federation made a decision to increase the number of airports forming part of “Aeroporti Dalnego Vostoka” (Airports of the Far East) fiscal enterprise as well as include seven more airports in the “Aeroporti Krasnoyarya” (Airports of Krasnoyarsk Region) fiscal enterprise. In addition, a budget process is in progress: if the corresponding decisions are made the airports will be included in the fiscal enterprise next year. «Today about 55 out of 300 regional aviation airports form part of fiscal enterprises. These are airports located in Siberia, Far East and far north. In the network of these measures we will shoulder the costs of maintenance and development of the infrastructure», - Sokolov stated.
The president also noted that it is necessary to speed up the process of transferring the infrastructure and develop supportive measures for regions in order to make production of general aviation aircraft in Russia profitable. «The market needs such aircraft, but there are no orders, because it is too expensive. So we must offer schemes allowing us to increase passenger traffic on these routes and manufacture indigenous aircraft», - the president said.
«The abovementioned measures include some of the programs. These are 3,5 billion rubles intended for supporting regional air transportation and about 600 million rubles (funds from the federal budget) – for supporting a pilot project implemented in Volga Federal District. These measures helped us promote the regional air transportation and open 100 new destinations and we plan to open 80 new routes this year, - Maxim Sokolov added. – We have elaborated a program in cooperation with the Ministry of Industry and Trade and I think that the steps taken will give an impulse to development of new advanced regional aircraft, which will replace An-24 and An-2 liners».
Finally, Vladimir Putin stressed the importance of market in terms of passenger traffic growth. «We need this market; we need this market to have a customer demand. If there is no demand, no one will manufacture the aircraft. We will be purchasing batches of two or three liners in foreign countries, but that is not what we need to develop the national aviation. I ask you to think it over», - the president stated.