Russian flag-carrier Aeroflot has sharply criticised comments from the regional governor of Khabarovsk suggesting the fatal accident involving a Sukhoi Superjet 100 was entirely the result of human factors.
The Khabarovsk region includes Komsomolsk-on-Amur, where the Superjet assembly line is based.
Governor Sergei Furgal, in an interview with regional television channel Gubernia, reassured that Superjet production would not be halted as a result of the 5 May accident.
But he claimed that official conclusions stated that the aircraft was in “perfect” technical condition and “fully functional”, and that the pilots made “a number of errors”, due to inexperience or agitation, while returning to land at Moscow Sheremetyevo.
“This is 100% human factor,” Furgal stated.
Preliminary findings from the inquiry, however, indicate that the aircraft suffered a serious electrical failure, including a degradation of flight-control laws and loss of communications, possibly resulting from a lightning strike.
Aeroflot has condemned Furgal’s comments, describing them as a “blatant attempt” to put pressure on the Interstate Aviation Committee – which is heading the inquiry – and to influence public opinion.
The airline says it has not received any conclusions supporting Furgal’s assertions over the technical status of the jet, and has challenged him to back up his statements.
“[Aeroflot] requests that [the governor] provides documents confirming the published information about the final results of the investigation,” the carrier says.
“In the absence of such, Aeroflot demands an immediate and official denial.”
Aeroflot says the investigating authorities have yet to obtain results from the inquiry into the accident, which resulted in 41 fatalities among the 78 occupants.