Airbus A321 disaster: All traces lead to Egypt

The territory, where Airbus A321 of Kogalymavia crashed, is controlled by militants of Vilayat Sinai group of the Islamic State terrorist organization. According to Russian experts, the plane "broke up in the air at a high altitude." What could be the cause of the tragedy in the skies over Egypt?

According to Reuters, Islamic State militants have killed "hundreds of Egyptian soldiers and police officers" in the area. "This area is the zone of an intensive anti-terrorist operation of the Egyptian army, where there were fairly severe losses among the military," President of the Middle East Institute Yevgeny Satanovsky told Pravda.Ru.

Egypt should have closed airspace for civil planes

Flight 9268 of Kogalymavia went off radar screens during the 23rd minute of the flight after taking off from Sharm el-Sheikh on the Sinai Peninsula.

"The plane fell apart in mid-air, the fragments are scattered over a large area - about 20 square kilometers", the director of the Interstate Aviation Committee (IAC), Victor Sorochenko said. Contrary to reports that the pilot requested an emergency landing after a radio station failure, the first data decoded from black boxes did not support the version.

A jetliner may fall apart in the air either as a result of a terrorist act or a major technical problem that leads to instantaneous depressurization and destruction of the hull of the plane.

Jean-Paul Troadec, former Director of the French Bureau of Air Crash Investigation (BEA), initially denied the version of the terrorist attack, but then changed his mind, having seen photos of the debris of the airplane.

"Having seen the photos, I keep the version of both the terrorist attack and an emergency situation," the expert told AFP. If it was an attack, the shape of the debris will show it. Traces of the explosive substance will also be possible to find on the fragments of the aircraft, if there was a bomb that exploded inside the jetliner," Triadic said. He noted that he did not see small pieces of the aircraft that appear if a plane nosedives during the crash.

Another aviation expert, Robert Galan, told AFP that an internal malfunction was very much unlikely to have caused the aircraft to explode. An explosion, the expert believes, could occur as a result of an act of suicide bombing, during the explosion of a bomb inside the plane, or during a missile attack.

"If the plane was flying at a cruising altitude of 9,000 meters (29,500 feet), it is highly unlikely that ISIS terrorists could shoot it down because they would need not only missiles, but also an advanced radar station for that," the expert told AFP.

However, the expert added, "if the aircraft had technical problems and descended, then it could be reachable for MANPADS." This is a far-fetched version, said Galan, but such a situation could occur, because ISIS militants have a Chinese FN-6 launcher (HongYing 6), from which they shot a helicopter in northern Iraq.

Noteworthy, it still remains unknown what type of weapons the Americans were supplying to "moderate opposition" in Syria.

"They have MANPADS, for example, from Muammar Gaddafi's ammo depots. Now there is Qatar delivering a variety of equipment to Syria via Sinai. This is a strategic goal of those who support the Islamists to deliver MANADS to the Islamic State or Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria," Yevgeny Satanovsky said.  

Was there a bomb on board the Airbus?

ISIS militants have been operating in the north of the Sinai Peninsula for a long time already. They have long made threats to shoot down planes flying to Sharm El Sheikh. The country, where combat actions take place, must ban the flights of civil aircraft over the zone of military operations. Egypt did it only after the tragedy with the Russian plane.

Interestingly, it could be someone of the personnel who could take the bomb on board the plane when maintaining it or loading luggage on board.

Here is another conclusion that one can make - it is dangerous now to fly to Arab countries.

The Airbus A321 had been in service for 18 years. Kogalymavia leased the aircraft from a daughter of the US-based International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC) in Ireland, the Irish Times wrote. The deal was made in 2002, the newspaper said.

Ireland undertook to sell "serviceable" aircraft to Russia, and Russia undertook to maintain them. It turns out, though, that the Irish company is not responsible for rented and leased aircraft. The US-based owner (about 8,000 aircraft in leasing) has a bad reputation. According to The Irish Times, there were more 300 claims against the ILFC regarding the technical condition of aircraft.

Final conclusion: One should establish order in the field of aircraft leasing. One should toughen the rules and eradicate corruption. In this case, Russia would bid farewell to most of 130 air carriers.  

"We have been talking about this security for 25 years. Yet, no one has ever paid any attention to it  - either at the Transport Ministry or at the government. I am 100 percent sure that on December 1 we will all forget about the disaster, and everything will remain the way it is now. Nothing will be reorganized, no conclusions will be made, no suggestions whatsoever," Victor Gorbachev, CEO of the Association of Civil Aviation Airports told Pravda.Ru.

Lyuba Lulko

Read article on the Russian version of Pravda.Ru

Read more on the subject:

Air crash in Egypt: Was the Russian plane shot down?

Airbus A321 exclude version of external impact

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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov