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Putin assails officials over Moscow airport delays

 Passengers rest on a floor of Shremetyevo international airport, Russia, Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2010. Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev has ordered prose...
 Passengers sleep on benches at Shremetyevo international airport, Russia, Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2010. Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev has ordered pros...
 Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, left, holds a cell phone with a computer chip programmed to receive signals from Glonass, Russia's global navi...
 Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, left, holds a computer chip and a cell phone programmed to receive signals from Glonass, Russia's global navig...

Russia Passengers Stranded

Passengers rest on a floor of Shremetyevo international airport, Russia, Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2010. Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev has ordered prose...

APTOPIX Russia passengers Stranded

Passengers sleep on benches at Shremetyevo international airport, Russia, Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2010. Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev has ordered pros...

Russia Putin

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, left, holds a cell phone with a computer chip programmed to receive signals from Glonass, Russia's global navi...

Russia Putin

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, left, holds a computer chip and a cell phone programmed to receive signals from Glonass, Russia's global navig...

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin harshly reprimanded officials Wednesday over a winter weather shutdown at Moscow airports that left thousands stranded for days, and he banned high-ranking officials from taking vacations until further notice.
Icy rains covered runways and planes with a thick layer of ice over the weekend and caused a blackout at the capital's largest airport, Domodedovo, which halted all flights for a day. Domodedovo resumed operations Monday, but a backlog of delayed flights left thousands stuck.
Dozens of flights also have been canceled or delayed in the capital's second-biggest airport, Sheremetyevo, where national carrier Aeroflot reported severe shortages of de-icing fluid.
A stern-faced Putin told a Cabinet session that those in charge of operations at Moscow airport should "stop whining and start working."
He also banned all Cabinet minister and regional governors from taking their New Year vacations, saying they must be easily reachable in case of blackouts and other problems caused by weather.
Airport authorities and airlines were slow to provide food and water to Russians who had been leaving for their New Year's vacations.
Traders hiked up food and drink prices at Domodedovo to levels several times higher than the average, and gypsy cab drivers were offering rides back to Moscow for the equivalent of $350. Angry passengers complained about the lack of information about flight delays from airport authorities, and sporadic scuffles were reported.
Russian prosecutors have opened an investigation on charges of violation of passengers' rights and summoned some airline officials for questioning.
Putin harshly criticized officials for allowing the logjam, which he said left 8,000 passengers stranded at Domodedovo alone.
"You had zero information for the public," he said. "What kind of work is that?"


Updated : 2021-07-24 17:58 GMT+08:00