Putin has signed a law that will give Russian firms new powers to operate foreign leased aircraft, according to the Russian state-owned news agency, TASS. This will allow Russian airlines to use over 500 leased aircraft currently held hostage in the country.
The new law gives the “opportunity of registering rights to foreign aeroplanes leased by Russian companies and issuing domestic airworthiness certificates to them”
Why is this important?
Of Russia’s fleet of almost 1000 aircraft, over half are leased by foreign lessors. Following the invasion of Ukraine, the vast majority of these leases have been terminated, and lessors are desperately trying to repossess their aircraft from Russia. Currently, all of these aircraft are being flown exclusively within the country to avoid seizure, under the order of the Russian Federal Air Transport Agency (Rosaviatsiya). Putin’s new law is designed so that airlines can continue to fly the foreign-owned planes, which are currently being operated illegally.
Additionally, the new law will allow Russian-owned planes to gain Russian airworthiness certificates. Last week, Bermuda suspended airworthiness certificates for all Russian-operated aircraft. Under normal circumstances, this would’ve grounded the 750 Russian planes registered in Bermuda. However, at present, Russia is a law unto itself. This new legislation will allow these aircraft to gain a Russian certificate of Airworthiness instead, so they can continue to fly legally.
The potential impact of domestic Airworthies
The Certificate of Airworthiness is particularly important for Russia, as they struggle to find airline parts due to sanctions. Airbus and Boeing have withdrawn their technical support from Russia, and recently even China has refused to sell parts to them. Without parts to service their fleet, they will quickly see their aircraft becoming unfit to fly. By giving out domestic airworthy certificates, they may take a more lenient attitude towards safety measures to help keep planes in the air.
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