MIAMI —Russia’s Interstate Aviation Committee (MAK) has announced the suspension of the airworthiness certification of the Boeing 737 family aircraft in all its types and variants stating that deficiencies in the aircraft’s elevator system need to be addressed in order to ensure a safe ongoing operation.
Tass reported that the MAK explained in a letter published on the Committee website that all Boeing 737s in service with Russian carriers would lose their operating licenses until safe operations can be assured.
The Committee stated that upon a request of the Federal Air Transport Agency of Russia (Rosaviatsia), an inquiry was sent to the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which was replied to last October 27th. However, the MAK argues that the response from the FAA was unable to respond to all the concerns related to the safe operation of the elevator system of the Boeing 737 family aircraft.
The MAK also stated that they have worked with the US authorities for more than a year to review and address the issues in the elevator system. However, the MAK has not been able to determine whether the modifications suggested were actually performed during that time.
Therefore, as the safe operation of the Boeing 737 cannot be determined, the Airworthiness Certificate of all Boeing 737 family aircraft has been suspended in Russia. Civil Aviation Authorities of Ireland and Bermuda were also informed of this decision as many of these aircraft operated in Russia are registered in those jurisdictions.
The Federal Air Transport Agency of Russia issued the following statement:
Rosaviatsia has not received a copy of the letter issued by the Interstate Aviation Committee (MAK) and signed by its chairman Mr. Vladimir Bespalov, related to the withdrawal of Airworthiness Certificates to the Boeing 737 family aircraft operated by Russian carriers.
Given the seriousness of such notification, the Federal Air Transport Agency has called to a meeting on November 6, inviting the Russian operators of the Boeing 737 and the directors of the MAK.
Nevertheless, the Federal Air Transport Agency informs that the MAK decision to revoke the Airworthiness Certificate to all Boeing 737s flying in Russia shall not stop their operation. The ban on flights of an aircraft type can only be made by a federal executive body specifically authorized to do so.
Boeing spokesman Doug Alder said the company will be meeting with Russian officials to discuss this decision. However, it was unclear whether a representative of the company will attend the meeting called by Rosaviatsia.
Currently, over 125 Boeing 737s operate in Russia. State-owned Aeroflot Group is the largest operator with over 40 aircraft operated by Aeroflot (12 737-800s), Pobeda (12 737-800s), Aurora (3 737-500s) and Orenair (16 737-800s). UTAir is the largest single operator of the 737 in Russia with 38 ‘Classic’ 737 family aircraft.