MOSCOW, July 14 (Reuters) - A Sibir airline plane crash that killed 125 people may have given added impetus to Russian plans to consolidate the nation's fragmented civil aviation industry, Russian media said on Friday. Newspapers said that transferring the state's stake in Sibir to Aeroflot (AFLT.MM: Quote, Profile, Research) had become an especially topical issue after Sunday's crash when an Airbus plane veered off the runway and exploded in the Siberian city of Irkutsk.
"Aeroflot owns a new fleet, has better technical maintenance services and a more advanced system of flight safety tested by international auditors," an unnamed government official told the business daily Kommersant. A Russian transport ministry official also told Reuters the government may hand over its blocking 25.5 percent stake in the nation's second biggest airline Sibir to Aeroflot.
"This (share handover) is one of the variants currently under discussion," the official said. He declined to elaborate.