Russia may recall the licenses of 30 smaller airlines in response to a recent spate of plane crashes that officials blamed on poor safety procedures, the Federal Air Transport Agency said Wednesday.
The announcement came just days after President Dmitry Medvedev ordered his government to shut down unreliable airlines after the latest disaster last week killed 44 people, including all travelling members of a top hockey team.
Federal Air Transport Agency chief Alexander Neradko said his agency had prepared the paperwork needed to annul the licenses of three air carriers, whose names he said would be disclosed later.
He said 30 companies in all had failed a twice-yearly safety and financial standing review, making them the "prime candidates" for having their licenses revoked.
"There are 30 companies in the fourth category of risk," Russian news agencies quoted Neradko as saying.
Transport Minister Igor Levitin said in a meeting with Medvedev last week that Russia had about 130 airlines.
He added that 85 percent of all flights were being conducted by the largest 10 airlines, receiving instructions to streamline the industry.