Superjet 100 flew in low-traffic Indonesian airspace: DGCA

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The Sukhoi Superjet 100 aircraft that crashed in Indonesia on 9 May 2012 was in the air space above Bogor as it is an area that does not normally have much traffic.

The aircraft was given permission to operate in Indonesia as part of its promotional plans, Indonesia's director general of civil aviation Herry Bakti said in a statement.

Sukhoi then chose to fly in Bogor, a mountainous area south of Jakarta, he added.

"The choice of flying in the area of Bogor is often carried out considering the lack of flights in the airspace. There are no scheduled flights that pass through the region, only charter flights," said Bakti.

Revealing more information about the incident, Bakti said radar contact with the aircraft was lost at 14:33 local time, 12 minutes after take off from Jakarta's Halim Perdana Kusuma Airport.

Just before contact was lost, the pilot had also requested for permission from air traffic control (ATC) to descend from 10,000 feet (3,048 metres) to 6,000 feet.

Bakti did not say why the request was made or whether the ATC acceded to the request.

He confirmed that the area was "cloudy" during the incident, but said that there should not be any speculation on the possible cause of the crash before the National Transportation Safety Committee issues its investigation report.

Neither the flight data recorder nor the cockpit voice recorder have been recovered, says Indonesia's Search and Rescue Agency (Barsanas).

Bakti said that the authorities will not interfere with the planned purchase of the SSJ100 by Indonesian carriers, although local media reports suggest that this has been suspended pending the investigation into the crash.

Indonesia's Kartika Airlines has ordered 30 Superjets while Sky Aviation has orders for 12.

The aircraft, with the serial number 95004 and tail number 97004, was on an Asian demonstration tour when the incident happened on 9 May.

Radar contact with the aircraft was lost shortly after and search helicopters located the wreckage of the aircraft on Mount Salak, about 5,797ft above sea level, more than 17 hours later.

Alenia and Sukhoi joint venture Superjet International confirmed that the aircraft had completed a full pre-flight check and reported no technical issues before taking off. The aircraft also did not report any failure before disappearing from radar contact.

Updated data from Sukhoi shows that there were 45 people on board the crashed aircraft. They include journalists, pilots and engineers from Sukhoi and officials from various Indonesian carriers.

"At this time, all our resources are devoted in assisting the authorities with the investigations, aimed at determining the cause of the accident," Sukhoi Civil Aircraft said in a statement on its website.