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Tragedy prompts plans to modernize air fleet

THE BIGGEST tragedy in the post-war history of Slovak national aircraft has prompted plans to modernize the national air fleet, the Hospodárske noviny daily wrote.

"We will consider speeding up the purchase of new planes", Defence Ministry spokesman Zenon Mikle, told the daily.

All Antonov transportation planes, which was the type of plane that crashed on January 19 killing 42 of the 43 people on board, are more than 30 years old. Although the investigation into the tragedy has not been closed, technical failure has not been ruled out.

Politicians are also discussing the purchase of new planes although the planes regularly undergo technical and safety reviews.

"It is premature to suggest that there is a link between the accident and the fact that these [old] machines are still used. Everyone says that they are not-problematic but they are old," said former Defence Minister Ivan Šimko. He expects that the air tragedy will speed up discussion on the modernization of the Slovak air fleet.

Compiled by Martina Jurinová from press reports
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