MOSCOW, April 30 (RIA Novosti) – Russian aviation watchdog Rosaviatsia has urged all Russian airlines to suspend until further notice the flights over countries that are currently caught in military conflicts, following a report of “hostilities” against a Russian passenger plane flying over Syria.
Rosaviatsia said that the crew of an A320 plane belonging to [Russian charter airline] NordWind Airlines “spotted signs of combat activities which, they believed, could pose a threat to the safety of the plane.”
The plane with 159 passengers onboard was flying early on Monday from Egypt’s resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh to the city of Kazan, in Russia’s republic of Tatarstan, where it landed safely later in the day.
“Taking into account recommendations by the International Civil Aviation Organization [ICAO]…Rosaviatsia deems it necessary to recommend that the Russian airlines suspend the flights of passenger planes, including those in transit flights, over the territory of countries where combat actions are taking place,” the agency said in a statement.
The Russian Foreign Ministry has vowed to take urgent steps to investigate and clarify the report, while the Syrian authorities have denied so far any knowledge of “suspicious” activities that might indicate a targeted attack on a Russian plane.