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Russia begins stripping jetliners for components as sanctions chunk By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: An Airbus A321-211 plane of Russian airline Aeroflot with registration VP-BOE is pictured on a long run parking at Cointrin airport in Geneva, Switzerland, March 9, 2022. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

(This content material was produced in Russia, the place the regulation restricts protection of Russian navy operations in Ukraine)

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian airways, together with state-controlled Aeroflot, are stripping jetliners to safe spare components they will now not purchase overseas due to Western sanctions, 4 business sources instructed Reuters.

The steps are in keeping with recommendation Russia’s authorities supplied in June for airways to make use of some plane for components to make sure the rest of foreign-built planes can proceed flying at the least by way of 2025.

Sanctions imposed on Russia after it despatched its troops into Ukraine in late February have prevented its airways from acquiring spare components or present process upkeep within the West.

Aviation specialists have mentioned that Russian airways can be more likely to begin taking components from their planes to maintain them airworthy, however these are the primary detailed examples.

At the least one Russian-made Sukhoi Superjet 100 and an Airbus A350, each operated by Aeroflot, are at the moment grounded and being disassembled, one supply conversant in the matter mentioned.

The supply declined to be recognized because of the sensitivity of the problem.

The Airbus A350 is sort of model new, the supply mentioned.

Most of Russia’s fleet of plane consists of Western passenger jets.

Tools was being taken from a few Aeroflot’s Boeing (NYSE:) 737s and Airbus A320s, because the service wants extra spare components from these fashions for its different Boeing 737s and Airbus A320s, the supply mentioned.

The Russian Ministry of Transport and Aeroflot didn’t reply to requests for remark.


Russian-assembled Sukhoi Superjets are additionally closely depending on overseas components. An engine has already been faraway from one Superjet to permit one other Superjet to proceed flying, the primary supply mentioned.

To make sure, engines are regularly swapped between plane and are normally provided underneath separate contracts, business specialists mentioned. They aren’t thought of a part of the core airframe.

It’s “solely a matter of time” earlier than Russia-based planes are cannibalised, a Western aviation business supply mentioned.

Newer generations of jets – A320neo, A350 and Boeing 737 MAX and 787 – have know-how that must be consistently up to date.

Inside a yr of the sanctions coming into impact, will probably be a “problem” to maintain trendy jets in service even for Russia’s extremely developed and competent engineering base, Western sources have mentioned.

The apply of eradicating components to maintain one other airplane flying is often often known as turning the disused planes into “Christmas bushes”. Though comparatively uncommon, it’s most frequently linked to monetary difficulties and has by no means occurred on the identical scale because the widespread reshuffle being predicted in Russia with the intention to handle the affect of sanctions.

Jetliners could also be made operational once more supplied components taken away are put again, although this may not essentially reconstitute the traceability wanted for jets to re-enter world markets.

Many components have a restricted life that have to be logged.

Almost 80% of Aeroflot’s fleet consists of Boeings and Airbuses – it has 134 Boeings and 146 Airbuses, together with almost 80 Russia-made Sukhoi Superjet-100 planes as of finish final yr, based mostly on the newest information out there.

In line with Reuters calculations based mostly on information from Flightradar24, some 50 Aeroflot planes – or 15% of its fleet, together with jets stranded by sanctions – haven’t taken off since late July.

Three out of seven Airbus A350s operated by Aeroflot, together with one now getting used for components, didn’t take off for round three months, the Flightradar24 information reveals.

Russian carriers flying fewer routes on account of Western sanctions means there are unused jets grounded that may be stripped, a second business supply mentioned.

“Western producers perceive that the majority Superjets are being operated in Russia,” mentioned Oleg Panteleev, head of the Aviaport aviation think-tank. “You may merely cease producing and transport spare components – and it’ll damage.”


The Russian aviation business’s growth plan as much as 2030 estimated that Russia might face the most important challenges with A350 and Bombardier (OTC:) Q sequence as upkeep on them is carried out abroad.

The Russian authorities’s recommendation envisages “partial dismantling of a sure components of the plane fleet”, which might maintain two thirds of the overseas fleet operational by end-2025.

The principle problem will likely be holding engines and complicated digital tools in working order, mentioned Panteleev.

“Will probably be laborious to get them repaired,” he mentioned.

Aeroflot, as soon as among the many world’s high airways however now reliant on state help, skilled a 22% fall in site visitors within the second quarter of this yr from a yr in the past, the corporate’s information confirmed, after sanctions prevented it from flying to most Western locations.

Securing provides from nations which haven’t imposed sanctions on Russia is unlikely to assist, as firms from Asia and the Center East concern a threat of secondary sanctions in opposition to them by Western governments, the sources mentioned.

“Every single half has its personal (distinctive) quantity and if the paperwork can have a Russian airline as the ultimate purchaser, then nobody would agree to provide, neither China nor Dubai,” the primary supply mentioned, including that each one components must be made recognized to Boeing and Airbus earlier than they’re provided to the end-user.

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