Sanctioned Russian airlines, including Aeroflot, are stripping planes to secure spare parts they can no longer buy abroad. It is reported by Reuters, citing sources.
The moves are in line with advice the Russian government gave airlines in June to use parts from some aircraft so that the remaining foreign-made aircraft can continue flying until at least 2025.
According to the interlocutor, Aeroflot's Sukhoi Superjet 100 and the practically new Airbus A350 are currently being dismantled. The company also took equipment and spare parts from Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 aircraft for its other liners. Another industry source recalled that Russian carriers now fly fewer routes due to Western sanctions, so there are unused planes that can be dismantled. New generations of aircraft - A320neo, A350, Boeing 737 MAX and 787 - are equipped with technologies that need to be constantly updated, the agency said. The Russian Transport Ministry and Aeroflot did not respond to requests for comment.
The source added that the engine for another Superjet has already been removed from one Sukhoi Superjet. At the same time, industry experts explained that engines are often changed between different aircraft, usually they are supplied under separate contracts. According to the interlocutors, within a year after the entry into force of the sanctions, it will not be easy for Russia to keep modern aircraft in operation.
Also, Reuters, citing Flightradar24 data, claims that since the end of July, about 50 Aeroflot aircraft, or 15% of its fleet, including aircraft that fell under sanctions, have not flown. Three of the seven Airbus A350s, including one currently being stripped for parts, have not taken off for about three months.
After the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, tough sanctions began to be imposed on the Russian Federation, which also affected the aviation industry. US authorities closed exports for Russian airlines in April. Those lost the right to participate in transactions for the export and re-export of components manufactured in the United States. The European Union Aviation Safety Committee has included Aeroflot and a number of other Russian airlines in the list of carriers that are prohibited or restricted from flying within the EU. Problems arose with the use of Russian-made aircraft. In April, it became known that Russian airlines operating domestic Sukhoi Superjet 100 aircraft cannot repair and maintain Russian-French SaM146 engines in good condition.
However, later the EU, Britain and the US Treasury eased sanctions on goods for civil aviation. The United States has made indulgences for transactions related to the supply, export of goods, technologies or services to ensure the safety of civil aviation. Among the companies against which sanctions have been eased are the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) Irkut, the Ilyushin Aviation Complex, Tupolev and some others, but a prerequisite for transactions is the registration of aircraft intended only for civil aviation outside of Russia.
In July, the EU Council specified that engagement with Russia on aviation goods and services would be allowed to the extent required to meet the safety standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The British Foreign Trade Department, in turn, eased sanctions against Russia in the field of aviation insurance. However, it also clarified that the concessions would not apply to military aviation products and technologies.