Statement of the Interstate Aviation Committee
In connection with mass-media appeals regarding the suspension by the IAC Aviation Register of the Type Certificate for Boeing 737 series aircraft in the Russian Federation issued during validation process up to receipt of joint notification of Federal Air Transport Agency and Federal Aviation Administration of the USA about safe operation of this type aircraft the Interstate Aviation Committee declared the following.
Almost since the first day of the work of the Investigation team of the fatal accident with Boeing 737-500 VQ-BBN aircraft occurred in Kazan a/p on January 17, 2013 A. Neradko and other officials repeatedly raised an issue of pitch control system failure that could contribute to the accident and the necessity of implementation of urgent modifications by the state of aircraft design and manufacture in order to ensure fault safety of pitch control system to ensure safe operation of Boeing 737 type aircraft fleet (from the letter of A. Neradko and other officials to the Federal Air Transport Agency).
To study this issue comprehensively the Investigation team of this accident carried out much special studies and bench tests of control actuators of the pitch control system including their computerized tomography, baroscopic examination of the main junction boxes and their gaging (cutting), etc. The studies didn't prove the pitch control system failure.
In this regard on April 17, 2015 the report Project on the investigation results was signed without any comments by all members of the Investigation team including the Federal Air Transport Agency representative. The Final Report will be completely coordinated with all States which participated in the investigation (the USA, Great Britain, Bermudas, France).
However in June 2015 the Federal Air Transport Agency representative called off its signature and the FATA heads said that the accident was caused by the failure of control actuator of the pitch control system due to design limitations of Boeing 737 type.
Accordingly the Investigation team of this accident made an official appeal to the IAC Aviation Register for information about position of aviation authorities of Russia. The IAC Aviation Register in accordance with Intergovernmental Agreement between Russia and the USA on flight safety improvement immediately requested the Federal Aviation Authority of the USA (authority of the initial certification of Boeing 737 type aircraft) about the confirmation of aircraft compliance with safe operation requirements. However the received answer doesn't contain conclusion that Boeing 737 type aircraft condition doesn't ensure its safe operation.
Taking into account this fact and the lack of particular measures of the Federal Air Transport Agency in the framework of its competence to implement limitations on Boeing 737 aircraft operation the IAC Aviation Register had to suspend in the Russian Federation the type Certificates for Boeing 737 series aircraft issued during the validation process.
Thus there is a serious concern that for a long period of time declaring about serious limitations of Boeing 737 type aircraft effecting flight safety the Federal Air Transport Agency didn't inform Airlines and Supervisory Authorities about it. If this opinion of the Federal Air Transport Agency is competent it is alarming that more than 20 million passengers of Boeing 737 type aircraft were at significant risk.
Corresponding with Federal Aviation Administration if the USA and the Investigation team about unsafe Boeing 737 type aircraft operation for 2 years the Federal Air Transport Agency didn't realize its right provided by the Air Code of the Russian Federation to implement aircraft operation limitations. Provided that according to the President of Russian Air Transport Operators Association "Boeing 737 jet liners are in Ireland and Bermudas register the Russian State isn't responsible for them from the point of airworthiness maintenance".
It is surprising that some experts and persons try to deny the obvious link of the IAC Aviation Register decision with safety of millions of passengers.
The IAC explains that measures of Aviation Register as well as international Investigation Commission of the accident are driven from the flight safety and necessity to comply with the ICAO standards and international agreements in the field of aircraft airworthiness. The IAC authorities as international organisation are clearly delineated with functions of aviation and Russian supervisory authorities. The issues of operational clearance/ban of Russian airlines aircraft are not included in the IAC activity.
The IAC will not interfere in the competence and decisions taken by the Federal Air Transport Agency today at the meeting.
The IAC expects that at the forthcoming meeting on November 11, 2015 the Federal Air Transport Agency will bring its opinion about the necessity of urgent modifications to ensure the safety of pitch control system of Boeing 737 type aircraft. We think that the Federal Air Transport Agency and Federal Aviation Authority of the USA will announce their joint decision about the further safe operation of Boeing 737 type aircraft.
The IAC considers that real and necessary immediate measures to ensure Boeing 737 aircraft safe operation will not be substituted by PR activity and put pressure on the independent investigation and certification bodies.