A Boeing 737 operated by the Russian airline Nordwind was forced to carry out an emergency landing shortly after taking off from Blagoveshchensk, in the Amur Oblast. The incident came as Russian authorities are questioning the airline’s flight safety.
The Boeing 737 NG, registered VP-BSA, was carrying out flight N4302 from Blagoveshchensk (BQS) to Moscow (SVO) on May 28, 2019. Shortly after takeoff, the flight crew decided to proceed to an emergency landing in Irkutsk International Airport (IKT).
A spokesperson for the airline, quoted by TASS, said that the pilots had identified a “technical failure”, but denied previous reports that it concerned the altimeter. The aircraft was transporting 149 passengers.
The Russian civil aviation authority, Rosaviatsiya, had previously banned the airline Nordwind from operating two of its aircraft. The decision to ground the Airbus A321 VP-BHN and the Airbus A330 VP-BUB followed “an unscheduled inspection”, which revealed safety shortcomings.
At the end of March 2019, Rosaviatsiya had already limited the air operator certificate of Nordwind, reducing the ETOPS of all its routes to one hour. The authority notes that “the restriction is not related to the financial and economic condition of the company and is aimed at improving the level of flight safety”.
With 4.9 million passengers transported in 2018, Nordwind is the eighth largest Russian airline. Prior to the ban, it operated a fleet of 50 aircraft according to its website.