Shortage of US-made parts grounds Russian passenger planes

by: Harry Johnson |

According to the first deputy director at Russian regional airline IrAero, drying up supply of US-made spark plugs, needed for the engines of Russia’s Sukhoi Superjet passenger aircraft, could lead to grounding of some airplanes and potentially of the entire fleet “in the near future.”

In the letter sent by the airline official to Russian trade ministry last month, he warns that the lack of American-made parts threatens to ground some Superjets “in the near future and a gradual cessation of flights of the entire aircraft fleet.”

The acute shortage of spark plugs needed for the engines of Russian passenger jets occurred as result of the sanctions targeting Russian aviation, imposed by the United States and other Western countries over Russia attacked Ukraine, launching a brutal war of aggression against peaceful neighbor.

Besides IrAero, several other Russian airlines are dealing with the growing problem of foreign-made aircraft parts shortage.

Russian passenger airline sector currently is currently facing a major crisis due to the spark plug deficit, Azimuth Airlines chairman said, while Yakutia Airlines officials said that the carrier no longer has any new spark plugs in stock.

Rossiya Airlines, which is part of the Aeroflot group, is also being affected. The carrier, which is the largest operator of the Superjet, is expected to keep only 30 of its 76 Superjet aircraft in service.

According to IrAero’s chief executive, the lack of critical parts jeopardizes passenger flights and may also have a major impact on air fare rates.

“We hope Russian industry resolves the issue as soon as possible,” airline official said, warning that the airline would have to stop operating its jets if there is no resolution.

The Sukhoi Superjet 100, a regional aircraft designed by Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation, made its maiden flight in 2008, while the first commercial flight was carried out in April 2011.

The jet is equipped with Sam-146 engines produced by a joint venture between French Safran and Russian state-owned United Engine Corporation. The spark plugs for the SaM-146 engines were manufactured by the US-based company Unison Industries.

In March 2022, PowerJet, the Russian-French manufacturer of the SaM146 engines, said it would suspend its engine maintenance and repair services.

Full article: Shortage of US-made parts grounds Russian passenger planes
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