Russia's Interstate Aviation Committee (IAC) on Thursday suspended the flight certificates for all Boeing 737 commercial airliners, the TASS news agency reported, citing safety concerns with the aircraft — one of the most widely used commercial aircraft designs in the world.
In a letter published on the body's website Thursday evening, the IAC explained that all Boeing 737 aircraft in service with Russian airlines would lose their operating licenses until their safe operation could be ensured, TASS reported.
The letter was addressed to the heads of Russia's aviation authority and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, urging modifications to the Boeing 737's rudder control system, which helps control the aircraft.
Russia's Air Transport Agency will hold a meeting on Friday with representatives of Russian airlines to discuss the fate of their fleets of 737s, TASS reported, citing agency spokesman Sergei Izvolsky.
The Boeing 737 is one of the world's most popular commercial aircraft designs. Since 1967, the U.S. Boeing company has built about 8,000 737s.
One of Russia's largest operators of 737 aircraft is the embattled Transaero, Russia's largest private airline. Transaero is currently banned from operating flights, after state-owned airline Aeroflot and private airline S7 saw deals to buy controlling stakes in Transaero fall through.