Russian authorities have extended the deadline until July for withdrawing Antonov An-24, Tupolev Tu-134 and Yakovlev Yak-42 aircraft that have not been updated with modern avionics.
After a series of accidents and incidents involving these types last year, the government intended to ban flights of An-24s, Tu-134s and Yak-42s unless they are equipped with collision avoidance systems, starting 1 January.
However, several domestic operators, including UTair Express, Katekavia, and KrasAvia, have appealed against the proposed requirement, citing high compliance costs and insufficient time.
"Fitting the An-24 [with TCAS/GPWS equipment] would cost more than its residual value," said Anatoly Karavayev, chief executive of UTair Express, which has 20 An-24s and three Tu-134s.
"We're not ready to replace them yet. Grounding this fleet would be tantamount to ceasing regional and local services."
Karavayev said that in December, his peers raised the issue at a conference in Magadan to tackle availability of air transport services for remote territories. He said: "The conference was chaired by [Russian prime minister Vladimir] Putin. Taking account of our arguments, it made a decision to put off the implementation of new requirements for six months."
He said UTair Express plans to phase out Tu-134s and retire a portion of An-24s, with the rest upgraded as requested before July.