Aeroflot to introduce smoking ban
June 27, 2001 Posted: 1646 GMT
MOSCOW, Russia -- Russian airline Aeroflot -- once among the world's most smoker-friendly airlines -- is to ban smoking on some European flights.
Aeroflot's embargo on smoking on flights shorter than four hours -- including such popular destinations as Paris -- will come into force from July 1 it was announced on Wednesday.
One of the few major international carriers that still allows smoking at all, Aeroflot has previously said that its cigarette-friendly policy is a competitive advantage with heavy-smoking Russians.
Earlier in the year, it won a dispute this year with U.S. regulators to keep smoking on its flights to America, arguing that its liberal policy helped keep Russian smokers away from Western carriers.
But, having banned smoking on flights of under two hours in 1999, Aeroflot said the extended measure "takes into account general world trends in the services sector."
"The ban applies first to summer tourists, because traditionally there are many children among those passengers," the statement said.
The latest restrictions by the state-controlled carrier follows approval of a bill by the lower house of Russia's parliament last week, banning smoking on flights lasting up to three hours.
The upper house must still debate the bill and President Vladimir Putin sign it for it to become law.
More than half of Russians smoke, and officials say smoking has risen alarmingly among children over the past decade.
Previous smoking bans by Aeroflot prompted no protests, the company said.
Good to hear that! Aeroflot was famous for being a 'smoker-friendly' airline. I hate it when people around me are smoking, especially when I am on board. Luckily, most airlines I travel on are Non-Smoking Airlines.