Russia’s Association of Air Transportation Operators is reporting that the Russian aviation industry last year lost nearly $450 million . . . the cause was attributed largely to increased fuel costs, reported as 30% above 2010 fuel costs . . . results may improve this year, as Aeroflot and Transaero, Russia’s most popular carriers, are reporting for the first half of this year passenger volume increases of about 25% each . . . the aviation industry globally struggles in times of rising fuel costs . . . Russia’s aviation industry also long has labored under a reputation for shoddy safety practices that, along with a badly aging carrier fleet, did little to inspire confidence in the flying public . . . in recent years Aeroflot has been aggressively buying new aircraft and trying to shed its negative image . . . President Vladimir Putin also is supporting efforts by Russia’s aviation industry to become a competitor in the lucrative regional transportation market by designing a new generation of aircraft to compete with Boeing and Airbus who dominate that market currently.