Sunday Airlines Boeing 757 Suffers Damaged Main Gear Departing China

A Boeing 757-200 owned by Kazakhstan’s Sunday Airlines suffered significant damage to its left main gear tires after landing at Astana/Nursultan airport in Kazakhstan yesterday. The aircraft was traveling from Sanya airport in China with 234 passengers and seven crew on board.

A Sunday Airlines Boeing 757
The Sunday Airlines Boeing 757-200 lost two tires whilst on the taxiway. Photo: © CEphoto, Uwe Aranas

Yesterday’s incident took place aboard one of Sunday Airlines’ four Boeing 757s. According to The Aviation Herald, the 27-year-old aircraft registered UP-B5703 landed safely at Astana. Whilst taxiing to the apron it then suffered two blown tires.

Reports from AeroInside suggest that the aircraft’s tires were damaged during take-off from Sanya. The most likely cause was contact with an unknown foreign object on the runway.

Although unrelated, it is the second incident involving a Boeing 757 within the past week. The previous incident involved a Delta Air Lines 757, which was damaged during a hard landing in Ponta Delgada in the Azores on Sunday 18th August.

Never heard of Sunday Airlines?

Sunday Airlines is a very small operator based out of Shymkent Airport in Kazakhstan. It was formed just six years ago, in April 2013, as a subsidiary of its questionably-named parent organization, SCAT Airlines.

SCAT Airline Flight 760 which crashed
SCAT Airlines takes its name from an abbreviation of Special Cargo Air Transport. Photo: Александр Залесский via Wikimedia

SCAT Airline operates Sunday Airlines as a leisure-orientated charter airline, mainly serving tour operators based in Kazakhstan. With a total of just five aircraft in service across a small number of select routes, chances are you won’t have flown Sunday Airlines before.

At the moment, Sunday Airlines operates four Boeing 757s, all of which are ex-SCAT Airlines stock, ranging from 25 to 28 years old. In addition to four Boeing 757s, Sunday Airlines also owns one 19-year-old ex-Air China Boeing 767.

Kazakhstan’s airlines

Kazakhstan may be a pretty large country, but it has a population of just over 18 million people.

Despite this reasonably modest population, the country has more than 20 operational airlines. Many of these are tiny carriers operating just a handful of aircraft, but there are four main airlines which can be considered ‘full scale’.

Whilst significantly larger than Sunday Airlines, SCAT Airlines is not the biggest airline operating within Kazakhstan. That title goes to Air Astana, the national flag carrier which boasts a fleet of 34 aircraft with a significantly younger average age than SCAT Airlines’ fleet.

An Air Astana Boeing 757
Air Astana is 51% owned by the Kazakh sovereign wealth fund. Photo: John Taggart via Flickr

Where Air Astana is the premium option, SCAT Airlines operates as a budget carrier for flights to Kazakhstan’s regional neighbors.

In 2009, SCAT Airlines was actually blacklisted for flights into Europe alongside the majority of Kazakhstan’s other airlines (bar Air Astana) due to lax regulatory processes within the country. It has since proven itself to be up to standard and was removed from the EU blacklist in 2018, following an inspection by the European Aviation Safety Agency.

Unfortunately for SCAT Airlines, its recent investment in a new Boeing 737 MAX has made it one of many victims of the biggest aviation scandal in years.

Sunday Airlines was not available to respond to Simple Flying’s request for comment on the incident.