Aeroflot's bran new Airbus A350 taxiing at Sheremetyevo international airport, Moscow

The United States government has moved to effectively ground 100 aircraft that they believe recently flew to Russia, including a plane used recently by Russian businessman Roman Abramovich, and may have violated U.S export controls as a result. 

Grounding a centenarian

The U.S Department of Commerce published a list on Friday of 99 Boeing aircraft that were being operated by Russian passenger and cargo carriers. The majority affected included carriers such as Aeroflot, Azur Air, Aviastar-TU, and Nordwind Airlines.

Nordwind Airlines is a Russian leisure airline that primarily operates services between airports in Russia and holiday destinations around the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian Ocean. Azur Air, a former Russian regional airline, now operates as a charter. Aviator-TU operates as a cargo charter airline. 

Azer Air
Azer Air aircraft | © Kazuma U
Nordwind Airlines
Nordwind Airlines aircraft | © Maarten Dols

In the statement, the department said that providing any service to the carriers without authorisation risks violating U.S export regulations, and has the potential to warrant “substantial jail time, fines, loss of export privileges, or other restrictions.” 

The statement from the U.S Department of Commerce continued, justifying the grounding as preventing the offensive aircraft from receiving any service from abroad. 

This comes as Joe Biden’s presidential administration continues to impose sanctions and restrictions on Russian officials, companies, and other entities as part of an effort to pressure Russian President Vladimir Putin to put an end to the war he started in Ukraine. 

Earlier this month, the U.S government banned all Russian flights from American airspace in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. President Biden, in his State of the Union address on 1 March, remarked that “he” – being President Putin – has “no idea what’s coming”. 

The ban applied to all aircraft that was owned, certified, operated, registered, chartered, leased, or controlled by, or for the benefit of, a Russian citizen. 

The States continues to punish the Russian aviation industry as a consequence of the war in Ukraine. 

What are your thoughts on the grounding? Let us know.  


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