Sukhoi Superjet-100 won’t be grounded despite fatal crash

An Aeroflot Sukhoi Superjet ©AirTeamImages

When questioned whether the Russian-built Sukhoi Seperjet-100 would be grounded following Sunday’s fatal Aeroflot crash which killed 41 people, the country’s transport minister, Yevgeny Ditrikh, commented bluntly that “There are no grounds for that.” The Sukhoi Superjet-100 is the first new passenger jet to be developed in Russia since the fall of the Soviet Union and this crash will undoubtedly undermine confidence in the plane until the cause of the crash is confirmed.

According to the BBC, the pilot of the plane was forced to make an emergency landing after the plane had been struck by lightening shortly after taking off from Moscow’s Sheremetyyevo Airport. Video footage of the emergency landing show the jet caught fire during a very bumpy landing. Technical failure, human error and bad weather conditions are all being looked into as the investigation for the crash commences. The plane was carrying 73 passengers and five crew members; 33 passengers and four crew members survived the crash, though six survivors were hospitalized in a serious condition.

The Superjet first entered service in 2011, but there have been concerns over the plane’s safety. The Superjet was grounded after a defect was discovered in an aircraft’s tail section in December 2016, while one crashed in Indonesia in 2012, killing all 45 on board; this incident being put down to being caused by pilot error. The plane which crashed on Sunday was constructed in 2017 and had been serviced as recently as April this year. According to Reuters, regional carrier Yamal Airlines, the country’s second biggest operator of the Superjet after Aeroflot, said on Monday it was cancelling its planned purchase of 10 of the planes. It cited high servicing costs, not safety concerns. Aeroflot currently has a fleet of 50 Superjets, having also pledged to buy 100 more.

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