Aug / Sept, 2023

15/08/2023-12/09/2023

A Ural Airlines Airbus A320 has been forced into making an emergency crash-landing in a Siberian field. The incident, which is not reported to have caused any injuries, occurred in the Novosibirsk region after an overnight Sochi-Omsk flight was unable to land at Omsk airport due to a hydraulic system failure. State officials have dismissed claims that the recent deterioration in aviation maintenance contributed to the incident, while Russian aviation experts have been quick to question the actions of the flight’s crew. Third-party aviation databases indicate that the aircraft involved was leased from Irish lessor AerCap in 2014 and is part of a larger legal dispute over assets stranded in Russia following the Ukraine invasion.

Meanwhile, Aeroflot has reached an agreement with AerCap for the purchase of eighteen aircraft and five engines, which had been stranded in Russia due to sanctions. According to the Russian flag carrier, AerCap has now dropped its claims related to insurance and reinsurance policies for the aircraft, transferring ownership to NSK Insurance Company. Although Aeroflot did not disclose the fee, Western media reports have cited a stock market filing indicating a fee of USD 645 million. In light of the agreement, the Ministry of Economic Development has claimed that applications totalling RUB 100 billion (USD 1.04 billion) have been made for the purchases of imported aircraft. Ural Airlines’ General Director, Sergei Skuratov, has estimated that the buyback of his company’s Airbuses would total USD 900 million.

The Investigative Committee of Russia (ICR) has opened a criminal case against Red Wings Airlines employees for alleged unsafe operation of a flight from Antalya to Moscow Zhukovsky Airport. The accusations concern reports that the Boeing 777 aircraft operating the flight did not have properly installed air conditioning on board, leading to high cabin temperatures that threatened passenger health. A representative of the airline explained that the situation arose from using an auxiliary power unit that “does not violate flight safety standards”.

SITA, an air transport IT services provider, is preparing to disconnect Russia from its channels, potentially disrupting international flights to and from the country. SITA’s channels, often referred to as the aviation SWIFT, enable communication between airlines and airports in 200 countries. SITA’s services are reportedly used for 90% of all international flights worldwide, and the planned shutdown of SITA’s systems in Russia at the end of September will impact both Russian and foreign carriers operating flights to the Russian Federation.

Operation of the Czech L-410 regional aircraft has been suspended in two Russian regions due to a lack of available spare parts. Flights in the Far Eastern Kamchatka Territory have been suspended since the beginning of September, affecting services by Aeroflot subsidiary Aurora and regional carrier Kamchatka Aviation Enterprise. Earlier in 2023, Komiaviatrans, a regional carrier for the Komi Republic, stopped using their own L-410s due to issues related to sanctions and the unavailability of spare parts. In response to the developments, Oleg Bocharov, Deputy Head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, has denied any problems relating to the airworthiness of the L-410 within Russia.

Repairs to an Aeroflot Airbus A330, conducted in Iran due to the impact of sanctions on the Russian aviation industry, have been delayed by six months. The aircraft was initially expected to be returned to Moscow in September, but Telegram reports suggest that redelivery is now not expected until at least March 2024. Russian airlines have been forced to seek alternative markets for routine aircraft maintenance due to sanctions-related restrictions. They have placed increased emphasis on relationships with countries that do not support Western-imposed sanctions, with Iran subsequently becoming a key partner. The Aeroflot Group has also signed firm leasing contracts for 18 MS-21-310 aircraft and 34 Sukhoi SuperJets as part of its efforts to develop a fully domestic civil fleet. Rossiya Airlines, part of the Aeroflot Group, temporarily reintroduced a retired Boeing 747-400 into its fleet to operate two flights between Moscow and Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk in August.

osaviatsiya has reportedly asked airlines to reduce the number of flights they operate to minimise delays. According to multiple Telegram channels, the agency has lost confidence in Russian carriers’ ability to operate scheduled flights punctually and reliably following several instances of prolonged disruption. The agency has demanded that airlines introduce various frameworks to address specific issues, with all carriers reportedly required to submit strategy reports to Alexander Neradko himself.

he Russian Foreign Ministry has announced that direct flights between Russia and some African countries will become available in the coming months. The announcement was made by Oleg Ozerov, head of the secretariat of the Russia-Africa Partnership Forum. According to Ozerov, the list of countries will include both established Russian tourist destinations, such as Tanzania and South Africa, as well as less-frequented countries like Botswana and Zimbabwe. The move comes as Russian tour operators and leisure carriers are forced to re-evaluate their route development strategies in the wake of sanctions.

The High Anti-Corruption Court of Ukraine (HACC) has upheld a claim by the Ukrainian Ministry of Justice to nationalise an Antonov An-124-100 Ruslan aircraft. The aircraft, formerly owned by Volga-Dnepr Airlines, was the subject of an asset recovery lawsuit filed by the Ukrainian Ministry of Justice in August.

Sources:
BBC – Russian airliner forced to land in open field (English)

Sunday World – Plane that crash landed in Russian field was reportedly ‘stolen’ from Irish leasing company (English)
Aeroflot – Settlement with AerCap over 18 Aeroflot planes completed (Russian)
Reuters – Lessor AerCap agrees settlement over Aeroflot jets stranded in Russia (English)
iXBT – Russian airlines make applications for RUB 100 billion roubles to buy imported aircraft (Russian)
Interfaks – Ural Airlines estimates Airbus buyback at USD 900 million (Russian)
Vedomosti – What consequences could Red Wings and its employees face for a non-working air conditioner (Russian)
The Moscow Times – Russia is being disconnected from “aviation SWIFT” (Russian)
RBK – Carriers discuss problem of disconnecting from “aviation SWIFT” (Russian)
RBK – Second Russian region stops flying Western aircraft (Russian)

Novye Izvestiya – Iran delays Aeroflot plane repair up to a year (Russian)
Frequent Flyers – Aeroflot to develop MS-21 (Russian)
Frequent Flyers – Russia reverts to Boeing 747 (Russian)
RunAvia [Telegram] – Rosaviatsiya asks airlines to cancel flights to protect others (Russian)
AviaPages – RFM: Russians will soon be able to fly directly to some African countries (Russian)
AviationExplorer – Recovery of six engines from Volga-Dnepr An-124 approved (Russian)

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