EU-Russia aviation summit faces collapse as Europeans serve ultimatum

The EU-Russia aviation summit, scheduled to be held in Moscow on November 16-17, is heading for a collapse, with the Europeans laying down a condition that they will participate in the summit only if Russia abolishes fees that foreign airlines are forced to pay for flying over Trans-Siberian territory.

A summit breakdown has the potential to considerably damage relations between the Russian and European authorities.

The European governments had earlier adopted the "Agreed principles on the modernisation of the existing system of utilisation of the Trans-Siberian routes," which implied that the Russian government would undertake a responsive move on gradual abolition of fees for foreign airlines by 2013. The European anger now relates to the fact that the Russian government is yet to take any decision in this regard.

Russia earned around $420 million in 2006 from European airlines as "transfer" money for flying over Trans-Siberian territory. This money is passed on to Russia''s flag carrier, Aeroflot.