A series of maintenance situations with Sukhoi Superjets (SSJs) operated by an ACMI supplier to Brussels Airlines produced a rash of cancellations in the latter half of May, but the operator of the grounded aircraft has denied media reports they were caused by a shortage of spare parts.

Dublin-based CityJet operates several of the Russian-built regional jets on behalf of the Belgian carrier. Reports surfaced earlier this week of a series of grounded flights.

In response to ATW queries, Brussels Airlines said that it had “had some issues with our CityJet wetlease operations, which unfortunately forced us to cancel some 30 flights.” The carrier did not elaborate.

Last summer, Brussels Airlines’ then-CEO Bernard Gustin said the Superjets were performing well.

In a statement, CityJet said it had “a coincidence of a number of planned and unplanned maintenance events (including recovery from a lightning strike) on our SSJ fleet during the same period earlier this month, leaving us with fewer available aircraft than the schedule required. We worked closely with Superjet and suppliers on the restoration to service of the affected aircraft.

“This outage led to a reduction in the available aircraft for us to operate the schedule on behalf of Brussels Airlines. This situation was not due to a lack of spare parts but rather the fact that the coincidence of having a number aircraft unavailable at the same time for unplanned reasons.     

“We used a CityJet [Avro] RJ85 to operate a number of the flights which were at risk. All affected aircraft returned to operation over the weekend.

“The level of spares support and, in particular, the logistics for delivery has been under continuous development since we took delivery of our first SSJ. We currently have significant spares holding in Brussels, further supported by the manufacturer’s stocks in Munich, Venice and Moscow.”

CityJet is the sole Western European operator of the Superjet and has praised its appeal to passengers.

Alan Dron alandron@adepteditorial.com