In the early hours of December 27th in central Russia, a Rossiya Airbus A319 departed the Siberian city of Surgut for the major western city of St. Petersburg. However, as the aircraft was performing its climb after takeoff, the crew received an indication that a door was open and the cabin was not pressurizing.
The Airbus A319, operated by Rossiya on behalf of its parent airline Aeroflot, was taking 114 passengers from Surgut (SGC) to St. Petersburg (LED). The flight, SU6442, was serviced by five crew members.
The Aviation Herald notes that on December 27th, after taking off at 05:22 from Surgut’s runway 07, the crew received a door open indication and noticed the cabin did not pressurize.
In response, the crew stopped the climb at about 8000 feet, descended to 5000 feet, and entered a hold while working the checklists and burning off fuel. Unable to fix the issue, the aircraft returned to Surgut for a safe landing on runway 07, about 55 minutes after departure.
After landing back at Surgut just before 07:00, the aircraft remained on the ground for nearly 15 hours and was able to depart later in the night. Taking off at 21:20 as flight FV5404, the jet completed the three-hour and 22-minute journey to St. Petersburg.
The 5404 flight number was uniquely assigned to this recovery flight. Furthermore, FV is the flight number prefix of Rossiya rather than the jointly-used ‘SU’ prefix it shares with Aeroflot.
The aircraft’s flight back to its home airport of St. Petersburg was also completed at a normal altitude of about 34,000 feet, indicating that the problem was resolved.
The Airbus A319-100 involved was 11.9 years old and registered as VQ-BBA with the nickname Smolensk (Смоленск). It initially flew with parent airline Aeroflot from 2009 to 2016 with the same registration but having the nickname S. Cheliuskin (С. Челюскин). According to Planespotters.net, the aircraft is configured for 128 passengers- eight in business class and 120 in the economy. It’s previous Aeroflot configuration was different, having 20 seats in business class and 96 for the economy.
About Surgut airport
While Surgut is by no means a huge city, its population of over 320,000 allows it to have a well-connected airport. These days, Surgut International Airport sees about 20 flights per day from several of the main Russian airlines, including:
- Avia Traffic
- and Rusline
Its ‘international’ status comes from operating service to the cities of Bishkek and Osh in Kyrgyzstan as well as Baku in Azerbaijan (in normal times). The service to Kyrgyzstan is operated by Avia Traffic, most recently using Boeing 737s.