Russia: Budget airline bans 'costly' chewing gum

A Pobeda plane Image copyright Russia TV Astrakhan
Image caption Pobeda passengers will have to wait until they land before breaking out the chewing gum

A low-cost Russian airline has banned passengers from chewing gum on board because it is spending so much scraping it off planes' interiors, it's reported.

The new rules will affect passengers travelling with the budget carrier Pobeda, which operates 17 routes within Russia, the state-run Tass news agency reports. The airline's CEO, Andrei Kalmykov, has previously said it costs up to 100,000 roubles ($1,700; £1,100) to remove each piece of gum left behind by passengers, and to restore the equipment. "We have imposed a ban on chewing gum since the middle of June due to losses sustained by the airline," Pobeda spokeswoman Yelena Selivanova.

Some Twitter users aren't that impressed with the no-gum rule. "Call a sky marshal, there is chewing gum on board," tweets one person. Another user says the policy reminds him of being at school, and one man wonders how it will be enforced, writing: "Passenger, open you mouth, show what is inside your pockets."

But it isn't only sticky deposits causing problems for the airline. Passengers have also been making off with thousands of dollars worth of equipment from the planes, Mr Kalmykov was quoted as saying earlier this month. Among the items allegedly pinched are life jackets and safety instruction cards, he said.

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