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article imageRussia stops airline from using type of jet that crashed at Sinai

By Nathan Salant     Nov 1, 2015 in Travel
Moscow - Russia ordered Kogalymavia airline to stop flying Airbus 321 jetliners like the type that crashed Sunday over Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, killing all 224 aboard, the semi-official Interfax news agency is reporting.
The jet, a modified A320, was flying from the holiday resort of Sharm el-Sheikh to St. Petersburg in the Russian Federation when it lost radar contact and went down early Saturday in a mountainous area of central Sinai.
There were no survivors, according to the Reuters news service.
Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail told reporters Saturday there did not appear to have been anything unusual happening before the crash but that more investigation was needed before possible causes could be identified, the news service said.
But speculation about the crash has included claims that the jetliner was shot down by Islamic militants connected to the Islamic State group, which is thought to be active in Egypt since a military coup ousted Islamist Muhammad Morsi from the presidency.
Investigators arrived Sunday from Egypt and Russia to begin examining the wreckage, which was spread over 15 square kilometers, Reuters said.
The plane's two black boxes, which record flight data and communications from the cockpit, have been recovered and are being examined, the news service said.
The A321 jet was operating under the Metrojet name.
Interfax said Sunday that Rostransnadzor, the Russian transport regulator, ordered Kogalymavia to stop flying A321s until the crash could be analyzed.
But the RIA news agency said a Kogalymavia official had said the airline had not received anything official from Rostransnadzor.
Russian Transportation Minister Maxim Sokolov discounted reports that an Islamic State-affiliated group in Egypt claimed responsibility for the crash "in response to Russian airstrikes" in Syria, telling Interfax that the claim "can't be considered accurate."
Nevertheless, three United Arab Emirates-based airlines — Emirates, Air Arabia and flydubai — said Sunday that they would reroute their flights to avoid Sinai.
Lufthansa and Air France-KLM already have halted flights over the peninsula until the cause of the crash is discovered, Reuters said.
At least 163 bodies have been recovered, Reuters said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has declared a national day of mourning in the Russian Federation, and the Russian flag flew at half-staff Sunday at the Russian embassy in Cairo.
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