Russia suspends Boeing 737 certification

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

MOSCOW (AP) — An agency that oversees civil aviation in Russia said Thursday it is suspending the certification of Boeing 737 planes used by Russian airlines pending resolution of safety concerns.

The Boeing 737 is flown by most major Russian airlines, but there were no immediate signs the Interstate Aviation Commission's surprise announcement would disrupt air travel. The S7 airline, one of Russia's largest, said it would continue to fly the plane, according to the news agency Interfax.

In a statement reported by Russian news agencies, the committee said the certifications are suspended until the U.S. Federal Aviation Agency and its Russian counterpart, Rosaviatsiya, give joint notice "supporting the safe operation" of 737s.

Rosaviatsiya said it aimed to have a meeting with the commission on Friday, but added that the commission did not have the power to halt the use of planes.

The Moscow-based commission oversees civil aviation's certification and use of airspace in most countries of the former Soviet Union, and is involved in investigating accidents.

Dmitry Peskov, the spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, said the Kremlin was following the situation, but sidestepped direct comment.

The move comes amid speculation about the cause of Saturday's fatal Russian airliner crash in Egypt, but there was no indication the action was connected to the disaster. That crash was of an Airbus 321, a plane similar to the 737 in range and passenger capacity.