Russian authorities spring compliance inspection on Red Wings

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Russian carrier Red Wings has been subjected to a surprise inspection by the federal aviation authority Rosaviatsia, in the wake of its fatal Tupolev Tu-204 overrun.

Rosaviatsia says the "unscheduled inspection" focused on the airline's compliance with certification requirements governing maintenance and airworthiness.

The Tu-204 accident at Moscow Vnukovo on 29 December claimed the lives of five of the twinjet's eight occupants, and followed an overrun by another Red Wings Tu-204 at Novosibirsk on 20 December.

Rosaviatsia has not indicated any findings from the inspection but points out that it can decide to impose restrictions on an airline's certificate if it discovers evidence of violation.

Federal transport supervisory authority Rostransnadzor has been gathering data on broader Tu-204 and Tu-214 operations.

Safety analysis, it says, has pointed to a need for "rapid action" to prevent the non-triggering of limit switches as well as the failure of systems relating to the undercarriage, control mechanisms on the wing and the nose-gear.

Rostransnadzor states that design bureau Tupolev and other organisations should aim to improve the reliability of these systems on the Tu-204 and Tu-214.