Russian probe: Aircraft age unrelated to safety

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Russian legislation aimed at limiting the age of Western-built aircraft in the country appears to counter the position of investigators probing the Tatarstan Boeing 737-500 crash.

The 737-500 involved in the fatal 17 November accident at Kazan was 23 years old, while the legislative proposal would seek to impose a 15-year restriction.

But Russia’s Interstate Aviation Committee, which is inquiring into the accident, had previously dismissed the relevance of the aircraft’s age.

It says that, under ICAO standards, there is no such concept as “old” and “new” aircraft.

“The main aspect for safety is the airworthiness of the aircraft and not its age,” it says. “There is no direct relationship between accidents and aircraft age.”

Accident statistics for the past five years, it says, show similar rates of loss for aircraft less than five years old and those over 30 years old. It adds that, according to its information, the average age of US- and European-operated 737-500s is more than 20 years.