Unijet settles €6.7 million dispute with Vnukovo airport over Total CEO plane crash
MOSCOW, October 25 (RAPSI) – Unijet airline and Moscow’s Vnukovo Airport have settled their dispute over a €6.7-million lawsuit filed by the air carrier following a tragic crash of Total CEO Cristophe de Maergerie’s plane, operated by the airline, in 2014, the plaintiff’s representative has told RAPSI.
The case has been postponed until November 28. Alongside the airport, other defendant in the case is the Federal State Unitary Enterprise “State ATM Corporation” responsible for the organization of air traffic.
On October 15, the Solntsevsky District Court of Moscow dismissed a defense motion to return a criminal case concerning airplane crash to prosecutors. The case is to be heard on October 29.
The case against airport flight manager Roman Dunayev and air traffic controllers Alexander Kruglov and Nadezhda Arkhipova was severed, and in 2017, the court returned it to prosecutors to fix the problems related to enforcement of the right to defense of Dunayev and Arkhipova. Their attorneys Leonid Kurakin and Valentin Kolesnikov were recused as they earlier represented the interests of witnesses in the case.
In July 2017, snow plow driver Vladimir Martynenko and Vnukovo lead airfield service engineer Vladimir Ledenev, who had earlier pleaded guilty and signed a plea bargain, were sentenced to 4 and 3.5 years in penal colony respectively and were immediately pardoned as part of the broad amnesty program on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of victory in World War II.
Martynenko and Ledenev were charged with violation of traffic safety rules resulted in the death of two or more persons. The widow of Total CEO Cristophe de Maergerie, relatives of the deceased flight crew members, Vnukovo airport and Unijet air carrier have been recognized as victims in the case.
Christophe de Margerie died in a plane crash at Vnukovo airport on October 21, 2014, when his plane’s wing hit a snow plow. Among the victims were three crew members, all French citizens.
On October 25, 2016, the Interstate Aviation Committee (IAC) published its final report on the investigation into the death of de Margerie. The report’s authors listed several factors, which, when combined, may have resulted in the plane crash. Among potential causes of the crash are: violation of regulations over control of alcohol use by drivers of special equipment, absence of equipment for listening to traffic controllers in snow plow machines, inefficient organization of work with subsystem of observation and control of airfield, no measures taken by the plane’s crew to prevent takeoff after receiving information about “machine that intersects a road”.