Transaero grounds Tu-214s pending crash inquiry findings

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Russian carrier Transaero is keeping its Tupolev Tu-214 twinjets grounded pending the results of the investigation into the Red Wings Tu-204 crash at Moscow Vnukovo.

The airline says it has carried out a "comprehensive review" of its three Tu-214s, in the wake of the fatal Red Wings overrun on 29 December, in line with directives from the federal transport supervisor Rostransnadzor.

Rostransnadzor has been gathering data on incidents involving the Tu-204 and Tu-214 following the accident, which occurred just over a week after another Tu-204 overran - without injuries - at Novosibirsk.

"No defects were detected during the [Tu-214] review," says Transaero. "All airline's Tu-214s were acknowledged to be in a normal state."

But Transaero says its management has "kept in force" a decision to suspend Tu-214 operations. The carrier has deployed Boeing 737-800s and 767s to operate services in place of the Russian-built type.

"The decision on resuming Transaero's Tu-214 aircraft flights will depend on the results of the official accident investigation," the airline adds.

Transaero originally ordered 10 Tu-214s but only took delivery of three. But the carrier agreed last year to lease a pair of Tu-204-100C freighters through a deal with lessor Ilyushin Finance.

It had also been considering the modernised version of the Tu-204, designated the Tu-204SM, which has failed to attract significant customer interest beyond a tentative agreement with Red Wings to acquire the type.

Russian federal aviation regulator Rosaviatsia's latest aircraft registry, issued in early January 2013, lists 30 Tu-204s and Tu-214s associated with various carriers in the country.

Red Wings has nine Tu-204s while the presidential air wing has two, along with seven Tu-214s. Other operators include Vladivostok Avia with six and Aviastar-Tu with three.