April 12 - Volga-Dnepr Airlines has joined forces with Russia's Ulyanovsk State University on a project to develop an electronic system to help prevent air accidents.

Following a tender conducted at the end of 2010 to identify participants for the project, leading researchers have been engaged in the work as part of an expert advisory council reporting to Alexey Isaikin, President of Volga-Dnepr Group. Since March, the council has been chaired by Professor Nikolay Makhutov, a corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences and a prominent specialist in risk and safety management. 

The project is being implemented under the Russian Government Decree No. 218 dated 9 April 2010 - Measures of Government Support to Facilitate Co-operation of Russian Higher Education Institutions and Organisations Implementing Integrated Hi-tech Projects. It is being jointly funded by the Russian Ministry of Science and Education and Volga-Dnepr Group. 

The project's main goal is to improve operational safety in the aviation industry using innovative computer modelling and assessment tools that support the introduction of an enhanced preventive risk management concept for flight operations. Safety depends on a great number of factors and the new system will account for these, from consideration of available facilities at an airport to the political situation in a country. This will result in substantial time and cost savings for Volga-Dnepr in its decision-making and ensure the optimal allocation of resources assigned to air safety. 

In addition, this project has a distinct social significance. The co-operation between Volga-Dnepr and Ulyanovsk State University will facilitate development of specialist courses, create opportunities for field experience and training, increase competitiveness of the university's scientific and technical research products and generally improve the quality of student education, thus increasing the flow of qualified specialists to the business sector. 

The commercial version of the system will be released in December 2012 with further trial testing to be arranged with Volga-Dnepr Airlines. The electronic safety system is expected to interest both Russian and foreign airlines.