Sudan grounds Russian-made aircraft after latest crash
The Sudanese president has grounded all Russian-made planes and sacked the head of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) after the latest in a series of plane crashes, local media said Tuesday.
An Ilyushin II-76, chartered by a private Sudanese company called Ababiel, crashed shortly after take off on Tuesday, killing four crewmen, reported dpa.
The Ilyushin craft appeared to develop a problem with its wing as it took off. It then hit some power lines and exploded.
Thirty people died earlier in June when a Sudan Airways jet burst into flames after landing at Khartoum airport, killing 30 people.
The cargo plane crash appeared to be the last straw for President Omar Hassan Beshir, who issued a decree banning all Ilyushin and Antonov aircraft from flying, Tuesday's edition of The Sudan Tribune said.
Ageing Russian aircraft are widely used in Sudan for cargo deliveries.
The head of the CAA was also replaced.
The move comes amid heavy criticism of the CAA as little improvement in Sudan's air safety record seems to be forthcoming.
"The Civil Aviation Authority enjoys looking at the skies to see planes falling down without putting any effort into plans to stop this cycle," Adel al-Baz the editor in chief of the daily al-Ahdath, said in an opinion piece.
Sudan's aviation record prior to the last two crashes is less than impressive.
A crash in May killed 24 people, among them South Sudan's defence minister and other government officials.
In July 2003, a Sudan Airways internal flight from Port Sudan to Khartoum went down, claiming the lives of 115 people.
Some 53 people died at Khartoum airport 12 years ago when a plane attempted an emergency landing during a sandstorm.