Russian airlines continue flying western aircraft despite sanctions

1 March, 10:39 PM
Russian target industries find workarounds to sanctions or turn to other partners (Photo:Air Canada)

Russian target industries find workarounds to sanctions or turn to other partners (Photo:Air Canada)

In 2022, Russia had a total of 544 western aircraft in operation, and Russian industries are finding loopholes in Western sanctions or turning to other partners in order to continue using 467 Airbus and Boeing aircraft, Bloomberg reported on March 1, citing data from aviation analytics company Cirium.

In March 2022, Russia banned airlines from returning leased aircraft to their owners abroad. Since then, most aircraft have continued to fly even though they are cut off from important software updates and maintenance needed to ensure airworthiness.

Boeing states it hasn’t provided parts, maintenance, or technical support to airlines or repair companies in Russia since the beginning of last year due to U.S. sanctions. Company CEO Guillaume Faury said that in the second half of 2022, Russian airlines used Boeing's aircraft more than before the COVID-19 pandemic.

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According to Bloomberg, Russian carriers source parts from friendly countries and move components from one aircraft to another to keep them operational.

The article notes that Russian airlines have abandoned flights to the United States, Western Europe, instead flying more frequently to Thailand, Turkey, the UAE, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. The number of domestic flights for the year decreased by 15%, to about 1,100 per day.

As Russia remains open to airlines from "friendly" countries such as the UAE, the number of international flights serving airports daily hasn’t changed significantly – 270 flights compared to 300 just a year ago.

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