Aeroflot has released flight schedules with foreign destinations such as Sri Lanka. The news comes a couple of weeks after the airline announced it would cease flying abroad.
The story so far
Last month, the EU said it would suspend all of its aircraft leasing contracts with Russia. In response, Russia ordered all leased aircraft to stay within the country to avoid repossession. Consequently, Aeroflot announced they would be ceasing international operations. A few days later, the Kremlin declared that foreign leased planes could be “re-registered” as Russian, creating a legal loophole for airlines to continue flying their borrowed jets. Aeroflot is the first to begin major international routes since the loophole was created.
Aeroflot has ensured that all of its flights are to Russian-friendly locations where repossessions are unlikely. It is yet unclear whether they will be flying owned or leased jets on the routes. According to Aeroflot’s announcement, their Sri Lanka flights will be flown by an Airbus A330, but the booking website indicates a Boeing 777-300ER. According to data from ch-aviation, the flag carrier owns 22 Boeing 777-300ERs, of which 12 are leased. Some have been re-registered, such as VP-BGB, which now has Russian registration RA-73140. Even flying to so-called “friendly” countries, there is still a risk the aircraft may get seized. Last month, a leased B737-800 being flown by Pobeda was detained at Istanbul Airport, Turkey.
Rossiya to use the Sukhoi Superjet 100
Aeroflot subsidiary Rossiya has also announced new international flights, flying out of Sochi. The routes will be carried out using the Sukhoi Superjet 100, a small Russian-built aircraft designed for regional travel. Because of this, the new locations are all close-by to Sochi, such as Israel, Egypt and Armenia. All of the planes are Russian-owned, so Rossiya will not have to worry about repossessions.
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