The emergency incident saw 309 passengers and 12 crew offloaded from the Russian tourist plane and transferred to a new aircraft. Footage shows the Boeing 767-306ER burst into sudden flames due to an “engine surge”.
Landing gear was also set alight on the same right-hand side of the aircraft, causing the departure of the plane to be aborted.
There is suspicion that Russian airlines are cutting corners on safety and have been operating without proper maintenance following tough sanctions imposed on the country following Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine.
A top Russian aviation official said Western-made airliners, which are not undergoing normal service in Russia due to sanctions, can be used until 2030.
Head of the Russian Federal Agency for Air Transport, Alexander Neradko said: “I am confident that it has not become more dangerous to fly - and it has nothing to do with the presence or absence of original spare parts.”
He demanded that the term “cannibalism” stopped being used to describe planes in Russia being kept in the air using spare parts from other aircrafts.
“It appeared at the behest of those who have never worked in civil aviation and who are unaware of the fact that the practice of interchanging serviceable spare parts from jet to jet has always been widespread, even during the Soviet times,” he claimed.
The 26-year-old aircraft operated by Azur Air was en route from Phuket International Airport to Moscow when the incident occurred.
Passengers aboard the aircraft include those families of men hiding from Vladimir Putin’s mobilisation decree. Other men were returning to Russia after running out of money, despite fear they could be mobilised in a new forced recruitment drive that could see them.
The Russian airline said in a statement: “Airline technical specialists have already started work to eliminate the malfunctions.
“Passengers of flight ZF-3604 will be provided with a hotel, hot meals and soft drinks while waiting for departure to Moscow.”
Passengers were told they would now fly on Sunday on a replacement aircraft. One report suggested the aircraft was close to taking off at 125mph when problems started to arise.