Russia's Airstars grounded for exceeding Il-76 MRO limits

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Russia's federal air transport regulator has revoked the operating certificate of freight carrier Airstars after finding that the company exceeded intervals between maintenance checks on its Ilyushin Il-76 fleet.

Rosaviatsia said Moscow-based Airstars had been subjected to unscheduled inspections between 29 September and 3 October, to verify compliance of flight operations documentation.

But the authority determined that "significant violations" had taken place regarding the record-keeping and that this had posed a increased safety risk.

The Il-76TD registered RA-76750 had exceeded the time between routine maintenance by 70h over March-July 2010, by 139h between September 2010 and February 2011, and by 44h from March-July 2011.

Rosaviatsia also found that a second Il-76TD (RA-76843) had similarly been used for 137h and 144h beyond maintenance interval limits, respectively during the periods June-November 2010 and December 2010 to June 2011.

It has accused Airstars of "falsification" of records and stressed that failing to adhere to established periods governing checks on the technical condition of the aircraft could lead to an accident.

Rosaviatsia said that it has decided to cancel the airline's operating certificate. Although listed as having three Il-76TDs and an Ilyushin Il-96-300, only two Il-76s were found to be in good condition, the authority said.