Manufacturing giants Airbus and Boeing have announced a suspension of their supply of avionic parts and services to the Russian aviation industry.

Airbus’ statement yesterday echoed the one made by its US-based rival, Boeing, on Tuesday – both made as a result of Russia’s invasion of its neighbour Ukraine.

Sanctions block 37 Russian aircraft orders

US and European sanctions will prevent the delivery of an expected 37 orders made by Russian airlines this year. Russia’s fourth-largest airline, Utair, had hoped to take receipt of 25 Boeing 737 Maxs. Aeroflot, Russia’s flag carrier, reportedly had on order 25 aircraft, including 13 of the wide-body Airbus A350.

The announcement by the Seattle-based manufacturer was seen as unavoidable in the wake of the newest round of sanctions imposed by US President Joe Biden. In a statement, the firm said:

“We have suspended major operations in Moscow and temporarily closed our office in Kyiv. We are also suspending parts, maintenance and technical support services for Russian airlines. As the conflict continues, our teams are focused on ensuring the safety of our teammates in the region.”

The impact of the moves on the local aviation industry is likely to be significant, but both companies wouldn’t be drawn on specifics when asked.

Aeroflot tailfins
Russian airlines are banned from entering vast swaths of airspace | © Jsylee

Approximately two-thirds of Russia’s commercial aircraft are made by one of the two firms, and maintenance on the fleet is continually being undertaken.

Leased aircraft expected to be “robbed”

An immediate impact would likely be made in the event of major parts failures. There are subsequent concerns that leased aircraft stuck in Russia could become a source of spare parts. IBA, an industry consultancy, commented: “Because parts are limited, we will expect to see aircraft that are on the ground in Russia being robbed in order to keep the remainder of the fleet operational.”

Russia’s airspace has become increasingly isolated in recent days, with many airlines cancelling flights between Russia and the west. With 6% of global flights originating or ending in Russia, are these latest moves likely to have a broader impact on the industry globally?

How significant will the effect of Airbus and Boeing’s announcement be on Russia’s aviation industry? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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