Flight 92-68

Transaero has one of the best safety records and Aeroflot has one of the youngest fleets in the world. But when a Russian family takes a vacation in Egypt, they have to turn to one of the smaller operators with an older fleet and – possibly – an avos’-based safety policy. Short-distance internal flights also appear relatively unsafe.

By itself, a 18-year-old Airbus A320 is not a recipe for disaster but only if it is properly maintained. That one had changed too many hands – once owned by a Malaysian, a Turkish and a Saudi company – which, I have heard, is a red flag. I have also read somewhere that even good old Transaero is not above suspicion, since it has been close to bankruptcy for months and may have skipped some essential repairs.

Update 1. Kommersant names “explosive decompression” as the most likely reason for the aircraft’s collapse. The paper’s sources name three possible triggers: a small bomb in the luggage compartment; parts of the engine that became loose and detached; cracks in the body caused by metal fatigue. (The plane “suffered a tail strike” in 2001.) Naturally, the airline is blaming “external impact.”

Update 2. Both the Egyptians and the Russians would prefer “natural causes”, as it were, to get the blame for Kogalymavia/Metrojet crash. There’s the idea that a Lockerbie-type bomb may have caused the plane to disintegrate up in the air but it’s not only speculative at this point but also unpalatable to the authorities in both countries. It would imply that the resorts of Sinai are unsafe, a disastrous implication for Egypt’s economy. It might also get interpreted as ISIS’ revenge on Russia, making Russians question the cost-benefit balance of the country’s intervention in Syria. Finding fault with the airline could be a pretext for more government interference in the sector.

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