Russian jet makes emergency landing

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iol news pic Sukhoi Superjet AP A Sukhoi Superjet 100-95 performs during a demonstration flight at air show. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

Moscow - A Russian Sukhoi Superjet 100 carrying 77 passengers was forced to make an emergency landing at a Moscow airport on Thursday after its landing gear failed to retract, the Emergencies Ministry said.

The Aeroflot operated aircraft had taken off from Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport and was on its way to the Volga River city of Nizhny Novgorod when it was forced to return.

No one was injured during the landing, the ministry said on its website.

The Superjet programme hit uncertainty last year after one of its planes crashed in Indonesia during a promotional flight, which investigators said was due to pilot error and Jakarta air traffic control's lack of a minimum safe altitude system.

Since then Aeroflot, the only airline operating the aircraft, briefly grounded four of its 10 Superjets, and a $900 million purchase deal with Indonesia's Kartika Airlines has been threatened with cancellation.

An official from Sukhoi speaking on the condition of anonymity confirmed the incident but made no further comment.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has championed the project which aims to compete with regional jetmakers like Brazil's Embraer or Canada's Bombardier and help Russia shake off its reputation for poor air safety.

The project is led by Sukhoi - part of state-owned United Aircraft Corporation, an umbrella corporation Putin created in 2006 to reorganise and revive the country's aircraft industry - in partnership with Italy's Finmeccanica.

Russia has declared ambitions to sell $250 billion worth of aircraft by 2025. - Reuters)

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