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22 Mar, 2022 14:27

Dozens of Russian jets seized abroad

Arrests were made in line with international sanctions over the Ukraine attack, and some 800 planes are now registered inside Russia
Dozens of Russian jets seized abroad

Russia’s Minister of Transport Vitaly Savelyev announced, on Tuesday, that the country has lost 78 jets to Western sanctions, over the conflict in Ukraine. He also reported that nearly 800 planes out of its 1,300-strong air fleet have now been registered inside the state's jurisdiction.

The planes were seized even in several countries that Moscow considers friendly – namely Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Turkey. The Russian authorities have tried to negotiate the buyout of the detained planes but to no avail. Their owners have demanded undisputed return of the assets.

“Almost 800 machines have been transferred [to the Russian aviation register]. We will secure them through a Russian insurance company. 78 machines have been lost,” the Russian minister declared amid a meeting of the Economic Policy Committee of the Federation Council on Tuesday.

“We are looking for legal ways to negotiate with lessors and resolve this issue, but so far we have not succeeded. They do not want to negotiate compensation for their payment or a redemption of their property by Russian airlines,” Savelyev elaborated.

Earlier, on March 12, the Bermuda Civil Aviation Authority, which previously registered most Russian aircraft, issued a statement notifying that due to international sanctions on Russian aviation, the Bermuda Aircraft Registry is now unable to confidently approve Russian aircraft as being airworthy.

“International sanctions on the aviation sector have had a significant impact on the ability to sustain safety oversight on Russian operated aircraft. Therefore, the BCAA has provisionally suspended all Certificates of Airworthiness of those aircraft,” explained the statement.

On March 14, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law making amendments to the Air Code of the Russian Federation. The bill, introduced by the government and aimed at supporting Russia’s transport industry in the face of external sanctions, has allowed Russian air companies to register their leased foreign jets inside the country. The bill has also given them an opportunity to receive domestic airworthiness certificates.

However, at least one Russian air carrier, Red Wings, has already made a pledge to return all eight of its leased Airbus planes to their owner. Experts speculate that the company’s decision has to do with the fear that its own jets abroad might be arrested. Red Wings heavily relies on Russia’s domestic Sukhoi Superjet 100 offering.

A new round of sanctions against Russia followed the Kremlin’s decision to launch an attack on Ukraine. The operation started on February 24. Soon after, the United States, Canada, and all EU states closed their airspace to Russian jets. Moscow has responded reciprocally. As a part of anti-Russian sanctions, Boeing and Airbus have suspended any maintenance of all aircraft leased by Russian carriers.

According to Russian authorities, the sole goal of the restrictions is to hurt the Russian people. President Putin has described anti-Russian sanctions as “a total undisguised aggression” and “a war waged by economic, political, and informational means.”