Russia allows grounded Aeroflot Superjets to fly

15th February 2013, Comments 0 comments

Russia's aviation agency has reauthorised Aeroflot to fly four of its Sukhoi Superjet 100s, days after ordering their grounding because of technical problems, the manufacturer said Friday.

Sukhoi Civil Aviation said in a statement that Rosaviatsia renewed three of the operating licenses on Thursday, followed by the fourth on Friday.

It added it had resolved the technical issues that forced Aeroflot to ground almost half of its 10-strong fleet of the aircraft, the first to be made in post-Soviet Russia.

Sukhoi, which makes the plane along with international partners, announced the grounding on Tuesday, adding that all the planes would be resuming flights by the end of the month at the very latest.

The Superjet has had technical incidents with its landing gear and leak detection systems since it started flying in 2011. However the company insists that relatively minor technical issues are a common problem on a brand new plane design.

According to Russia's Kommersant daily, the Superjet last year was responsible for 40 percent of technical problems needing repair at the Russian carrier even though the plane accounts for only 8 percent of Aeroflot's fleet.

Attempts to market the plane are still shadowed by the deadly accident in May last year when a Superjet performing at an Indonesian air show slammed into a volcano killing all 45 on board.

Indonesian investigators have blamed pilot error for the crash.

© 2013 AFP

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