A regional Sukhoj Superjet 100 (SSJ-100) airliner operated by Russian flag carrier Aeroflot crashed at Moscow Sheremetyevo airport on May 5 shortly after taking off for a regular flight to Murmansk. Out of 78 people on board, 41 people reportedly did not survive the crash.
According to Vedomosti daily, which cited surviving crew, the SSJ-100 was struck by lightning after take-off and had to attempt an emergency landing in harsh weather conditions. It caught fire after hitting the landing strip.
Despite the seemingly freak cause of the crash, the accident will further undermine the reputation of the SSJ-100. Produced by Russia’s Sukhoi Civil Aircraft, it has benefited from $1.5bn of state investment, but it has been dogged by technical problems, both in Russia and abroad.
Currently 106 SSJ100s are in service in Russia and 33 abroad. Aeroflot is the biggest operator of SSJs. In September 2018, the 49th jet of this category entered its fleet.