Key Points:

  • Russia's Ministry of Transport reports the loss of 76 passenger aircraft due to Western sanctions, as disclosed by Minister Vitaly Savelyev.

  • Russia's current aircraft fleet stands at 1,302, with 1,167 being passenger airliners, following a transfer of almost 800 planes to the domestic registry.

  • Negotiations with foreign lessors for aircraft purchases have been unsuccessful, leaving Russia with limited options for maintaining its aviation sector.

Impact of Sanctions on Russian Aviation

MOSCOW — Russia's aviation industry has faced significant setbacks due to Western sanctions, losing 76 passenger aircraft, as stated by Vitaly Savelyev, the head of the Ministry of Transport. Speaking to RBC, Savelyev detailed the unforeseen impact of these sanctions, noting the loss of aircraft that were either in technical storage, undergoing maintenance abroad, or prepared for flights. The minister described this situation as an unexpected seizure of the planes.

As a result of these losses, Russia's current fleet size has been reduced. According to Savelyev, the nation now possesses a total of 1,302 aircraft, of which 1,167 are designated as passenger airliners. This reduction in fleet size has been a direct consequence of the sanctions imposed by Western nations.

Russia's Struggle with Aircraft Acquisitions and Registrations

In response to the challenging situation, Russia took measures in March 2022, as stated by Savelyev, to transfer almost 800 aircraft to the domestic registry. These planes are now insured by a Russian insurance company, a move intended to safeguard the nation's aviation assets amidst the sanctions.

However, efforts to negotiate the purchase of aircraft with foreign lessors have met with little success. Savelyev expressed frustration over the ongoing situation, highlighting the refusal of lessors to negotiate compensation or sell the aircraft to Russia. The insistence on the return of these planes and the reluctance to engage in financial discussions have left Russia in a difficult position. Surrendering the aircraft, according to Savelyev, would significantly undermine Russia's aviation capabilities.

In June 2022, Savelyev reported that most Russian airlines had re-registered their aircraft from foreign to domestic registries as a protective measure. He noted that the airlines continue to operate flights to 11 countries that have assured Russia they will not seize its planes. This move reflects the ongoing efforts by Russian aviation to adapt to the challenging circumstances and maintain operational stability in the face of international sanctions and diplomatic tensions.