December 27, 2016 / 5:17 PM / 2 years ago

Mexico's Interjet grounds 11 Sukhoi planes over 'anomaly' risks

An aircraft of Mexican Interjet Airlines is seen through the window of another parked airplane at Mariano Escobedo international airport in Apodaca, neighbouring Monterrey, July 30, 2015. REUTERS/Henry Romero

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican airline Interjet said on Tuesday it had detected “potential anomalies” in 11 Russian-made Superjet 100 planes and grounded them after an inspection to comply with a directive from the Russian aviation authority.

Russian plane maker Sukhoi said last week the aviation regulator detected a defect in the tail section of its Superjet 100 plane. Interjet said in a statement on Sunday it was carrying out checks of its Superjet 100 planes.

After inspecting 22 planes, 11 were found to be without problems, while 11 were grounded after “potential anomalies” were detected, Jose Luis Garza, Interjet’s chief executive, told local radio.

“We have 11 planes that are on the ground, waiting for a solution from the aviation authority and the manufacturer so that we can put them back in regular service,” Garza said.

The grounding of the planes comes at an inopportune time for Interjet, with many people traveling for the holiday season. Delays were reported at Mexico City’s airport on Monday night, and some disgruntled customers took to social media to complain.

Interjet has bought various Superjet 100 planes from Sukhoi, which is part of state-owned United Aircraft Corp, an umbrella corporation created by Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2006 to revive the local aircraft industry.

The Superjet line has been dogged with safety concerns. In 2012, 45 people were killed after a Superjet plane crashed in Indonesia during a promotional flight, causing air carrier Aeroflot to ground four planes.

Reporting by Noe Torres; Editing by Dan Grebler

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