Aeroflot Cancels SSJ-100 Flights after Deadly Moscow Incident

At least 50 flights by Russia’s national flag carrier Aeroflot planned to be operated by domestic-made Sukhoi Superjet 100 (SSJ 100) were canceled since a Moscow crash landing of the aircraft killed 41 people last week, Fontanka reports.

The plane’s tail section caught fire on the runway after an emergency landing and raised questions about the jet’s safety. A day after the disaster, regional carrier Yamal Airlines said it was cancelling its planned purchase of 10 SSJ 100 planes.

According to business daily Kommersant, around 50 Aeroflot flights using Superjets have been canceled in the week since the deadly incident.

“There were many SSJ 100 cancellations and replacements before the crash,” Boris Rybak, head of aviation consultancy InfoMost, was quoted as saying. “Aeroflot tried not to make it public, but up to one-third of the aircraft were grounded.”

The Superjets had suffered malfunctions in the past but increased media scrutiny forces pilots to cancel flights, added Oleg Panteleyev, an analyst at the Aviaport industry information agency.

In the latest case of heightened precautions, an Aeroflot flight SU 1206 turned around and landed back in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport half an hour after take-off early in the early hours of Monday.

The pilot made the decision following a malfunction with the cockpit pressure mechanism, an unnamed source at Sheremetyevo told Interfax.