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Italian authority formalises new Superjet certification pact

Italian and Russian authorities have signed a bilateral protocol enabling technical co-operation over Sukhoi Superjet 100s to continue.

The protocol, signed on 6 November, provides formal recognition in Italy of certification of aviation equipment in Russia, and allows export of Superjets to European customers.

Italian firm Leonardo had been a key partner in the Superjet programme but has been reducing its shareholding in both the Sukhoi civil aircraft division, which builds the jet, and the Venice-based SuperJet International venture which markets it.

Certification has become a complex issue in the last two years after the Russian federal air transport regulator Rosaviatsia assumed control of the process from the Interstate Aviation Committee, sparking a rift between the two organisations over capability and competence in the field.

Rosaviatsia notably says the signing of the protocol "revokes" a previous implementation procedures pact signed with the Interstate Aviation Committee in 2013.

It says that Italian civil aviation authority ENAC, as a result, "freely accepts" the certificate of airworthiness for Superjets issued by Rosaviatsia.

The protocol also regulates the supply of components for the aircraft type.

"We've managed to co-ordinate our positions and prepare the text of the [protocol] in a very short time – less than two years," says Rosaviatsia chief Alexander Neradko.

ENAC states that the new protocol is annexed to a 1989 bilateral between Italy and Russia, which pre-dates the creation of the European Aviation Safety Agency – the European Union's own certification authority. But under European regulations the agreement can be used by all EU member states.

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