Russia's United Aircraft has pledged to respond to complaints by Tu-204/214 operators about the Tupolev twinjet's poor operational reliability, amid hints of a grounding order by the country's regulator.

UAC president Alexey Fyodorov has acknowledged the twinjet's recurring problems, which stem from poor quality of some components and inadequate after-sales support.

Citing an in-house centre for air transport safety, Russia's aviation authority Rosaviatsia reports that the Tu-204 suffered 25 incidents caused by various technical malfunctions while operating with domestic carriers last year.

Almost one-third of cases related to the Aviadvigatel PS-90A engines, another 30% to air conditioning systems and 20% to fittings such as doors and hatches.


In a letter to Fyodorov, Rosaviatsia chief Gennady Kurzenkov said this data illustrates the serious problems Tu-204 users have suffered, and requested that UAC remedy the situation. He hinted that the Tu-204/214 could be grounded until reliability improved.

Responding to Rosaviatsia, Fyodorov says: "We ourselves are utterly discontented with it and realise the need to tackle it from the bottom up."

UAC has already begun renegotiating agreements with suppliers, aiming to instil greater responsibility for the quality of incoming parts and components for Tu-204s.

Fyodorov says this especially concerns the reliability of the PS-90As, performance of which accounts for the bulk of complaints expressed by major Tu-204 operator Red Wings.

Fyodorov adds that UAC is creating a maintenance centre, with a renewable supply of Tu-204 spares, at the Ulyanovsk base of Tu-204 production plant Aviastar.

It is also aiming to improve troubleshooting manuals, staff field-repair teams better, and stock aircraft maintenance kits with commonly used parts and tools.

"We maintain contacts with all of the Tu-204 operators and try to act on their complaints as soon as possible," says Fyodorov. "Unless we do so, we could lose the market for these aircraft."

He has proposed that specialists from UAC and Rosaviatsia hold a meeting at the beginning of November to work out a concerted plan to ensure trouble-free Tu-204 operation.

Source: Flight International