Key Points:

  • Ural Airlines has compensated 158 passengers a total of 15.8 million roubles (US$178,000) after its Airbus A320 emergency landing in a Siberian wheat field.

  • Russia's Federal Air Transport Agency initially blamed the pilots, but a new investigation has been called due to undisclosed new circumstances.

  • With winter complicating the recovery of the stranded A320, Ural Airlines weighs options, including potentially mothballing the jet for the season.

Compensation and Ongoing Investigation for Ural Airlines Incident

YAKUTSK — Russian airline Ural Airlines has distributed 15.8 million roubles (approximately US$178,000) in compensation to 158 passengers of an Airbus A320 that made an emergency landing in a Siberian wheat field in September. According to the airline's press service, AlfaStrakhovanie, and reported by Russian news agency TASS, each passenger received 100,000 roubles (around US$1,127). Despite the accident, none of the passengers aboard the jet sustained serious injuries.

The compensation comes two and a half months after the A320 incident, which was stranded in the remote field due to hydraulic system failure and concerns over insufficient fuel to reach a diversion airport. Despite this, Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency initially concluded this month that pilot error was responsible for the incident, as reported by Aerotime Hub. The agency cited several mistakes, including miscalculations of necessary fuel and the decision to ditch the aircraft in a field.

Challenges in Recovering the Stranded Aircraft

However, Russia's aviation authority has challenged these findings, calling for a renewed investigation into the incident. This call comes in light of undisclosed "newly discovered circumstances," with specific details yet to be provided. Meanwhile, Ural Airlines is faced with the challenging task of recovering its stranded aircraft, which has been complicated by the onset of winter.

Russian news outlet KP-Novosibirsk reported that the airline had initially considered utilizing the frozen ground to aid in the aircraft's takeoff but is now contemplating "mothballing" the jet for the winter. Oleg Konyuk, the head of the Ubinsky district where the A320 remains, commented on the uncertainty of the situation, noting that decisions regarding the aircraft's fate are still in flux.

In October, announcements on Ural’s Russian-language Telegram channel indicated that the aircraft was in "good condition" and likely to resume operation. The airline plans to replace some fan blades and conduct safety inspections before attempting a takeoff. The ongoing saga of the A320 highlights the complexities and challenges airlines face in unexpected emergency situations and the subsequent logistical and investigative processes.