RBC: Russia may suspend SSJ100 planes operation due to spark plug deficit

Russia’s air companies are facing a deficit of spark plugs for Russo-French SaM146 engines used in Sukhoi Superjet 100 (SSJ100) aeroplanes, RBC cites sources in six air companies.

This may lead to full or partial suspension of usage of SSJ100 planes in the near future, Vladimir Panfilov, first deputy chairman of IrAero, wrote in a letter to Russia’s Ministry of Industry and Trade.

“This threatens passenger transportation, including flights of social importance,” he wrote.

Yury Lapin, chairman of IrAero, has told RBC that “currently everything is fine” and they have “a few spare plugs” at the moment. Other carriers also reported a deficit of plugs to the Ministry, including Rossiya Airlines, a subsidiary of Aeroflot and the biggest Superjet operator.

A Rostec representative claims import substitution of all items necessary for Superjet, including spark plugs, “is underway”.

Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Western countries banned the supply of aircraft and aircraft spare parts to Russia. Supplies of spark plugs and other consumables from the US have virtually ceased. In addition, European and American companies are no longer allowed to provide insurance and maintenance services.

A total of 160 Superjets are in operation in Russia, used by 12 operators, the Federal Air Transport Agency says. RBC notes that SSJ100 has become specifically important for the air industry after the sanctions had been imposed.

Russia agreed a deal with Iran in July 2022 to receive spare parts and equipment for Russian aircraft, as well as repairs and maintenance.

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