Azimuth Airlines, a Russian carrier, experienced an incident involving one of its Sukhoi SuperJet 100 aircraft during a recent flight to Yerevan.
The flight proceeded as scheduled from Mineralnye Vody Airport (MRV) in Stavropol, Russia, bound for Zvartnots International Airport in Yerevan, Armenia. However, shortly after take-off, the left engine cowl of the SSJ100 began to disintegrate, causing alarm among passengers as they could visibly see exposed engine parts during the flight. The detached cowling was later found near the airport premises.
Despite the mid-flight scare, the aircraft managed to land safely at its destination in Yerevan, and fortunately, there were no reported injuries. The engine cowls are crucial for providing aerodynamics and some protection for the two PowerJet SaM146 engines on the aircraft. The original Sukhoi SSJ100s were equipped with turbofans manufactured through a joint venture between France’s Snecma and Russia’s NPO Saturn.
Azimuth Airlines Sukhoi Superjet loses its engine cowling during takeoff from Mineralnye Vody Airport in Russia. The aircraft returned safely moments later. pic.twitter.com/gGvP20fL1j
— Breaking Aviation News & Videos (@aviationbrk) July 21, 2023
The incident raises concerns about the airworthiness of partially Western-built SSJ100s, especially considering the strict sanctions imposed due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Efforts have been made to replace the Western parts with an all-Russian SSJ-New aircraft, but in the meantime, used engines are being utilized on the existing SSJ100s that are awaiting powerplants.
The ongoing war and sanctions have significantly impacted aviation in the region, with Russia and the West shutting their airspace to each other’s airlines. This has led to longer travel times and the elimination of numerous flight routes. Russia’s access to modern aircraft has been severely restricted, prompting a reliance on older and domestically produced designs like the Superjet SSJ100. However, the lack of access to Western technology has caused delays in projects like the MC-21-300.
Western carriers have also been affected, as the absence of the Siberian corridor forces longer flight times from Europe and North America to Asia, resulting in increased fuel consumption and extended routes. As the conflict continues, the aviation industry faces ongoing challenges and uncertainties as it strives to return to a sense of normalcy after years of disruption.