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Wing Problems Ground Aeroflot Superjets

Four Sukhoi Superjets operated by Aeroflot have been grounded after faults were found in the chassis and wing flap systems.

The state-owned airline received a letter from the Federal Air Transportation Agency announcing the temporary suspension of the aircrafts' flight worthiness certificates on Monday, Vedomosti reported, citing two sources "close to the agency."

A source at Sukhoi Civil Aviation, the state-owned company that builds the Superjet, said the suspension was related to faults found in the chassis and wing-flap systems of the first four planes the company delivered to Aeroflot.

The source said that the problem had already been identified and fixed, and that the four planes would be flying again within a week.

"The aircraft is undergoing teething problems, as do all new machines, including foreign ones," the spokesman said, in an apparent reference to the recent problems faced by Boeing's 787 Dreamliner.

But an anonymous aviation official said flight records show only three of Aeroflot's 10 Superjets are currently flying frequently. The remaining seven appear to have been undergoing service for several days.

The Sukhoi Superjet, a regional airliner seating about 100 passengers, is the first civilian aircraft to be designed and built in Russia since the Soviet collapse.

The plane was meant to re-launch the country's troubled aviation industry and make Sukhoi a competitor with Brazil's Embraer and Canada's Bombardier for the regional jet market, but its development has been wracked by delays and technical issues.

In May 2012 a Superjet on a demonstration flight crashed into a mountain in Indonesia, killing all 45 people on board. An investigation blamed pilot error for the crash.

There are 179 Superjets on order. Aeroflot has contracted for 30 of the jets and so far received 10 fitted out in a "light" configuration.

Under an agreement with Sukhoi they are set to be replaced this year by "full configuration" models with additional toilets and kitchens and a different air conditioning system.

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