Russian Minister of Transport Vitaly Savelyev has announced that Russia has lost a total of 76 Airbus and Boeing passenger planes located abroad due to international sanctions, Anton Gerashchenko, advisor to Ukraine’s Minister of Internal Affairs and founder of the Institute of the Future, said in a tweet on November 25.
As of now, Russia's domestic aviation fleet consists of 1,302 aircraft, with 1,167 of them serving as passenger airliners. This marks a slight increase compared to the figures reported in April 2022 when the country had a fleet of 1,287 commercial aircraft, including 1,101 passenger planes. At that time, approximately 67.1% of the fleet comprised foreign-made aeroplanes, responsible for handling 95% of passenger turnover.
The aviation sector in Russia faced severe sanctions following the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, which targeted major Russian airlines and their executives. In addition, Boeing and Airbus suspended the delivery of spare parts to Russia and halted maintenance and support services for Russian airlines' aircraft. These restrictions also led to the termination of leasing contracts.
In September, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) issued a "red flag" for Russia in its flight safety audits, signalling concerns about aviation safety in the country. In May, reports indicated that Russian airlines had lowered safety requirements due to shortages of spare parts. More recently, airlines in Russia have requested agencies to extend the technical service life of An-24 and An-26 passenger jets, as many of these aircraft are nearing the end of their operational life.
The situation in Russian civil aviation appears increasingly dire. Ukrainian intelligence conducted a cyber operation against Rosaviation, obtaining classified documents from the Russian Ministry of Transport. The information revealed several alarming trends:
These revelations underscore the substantial challenges facing Russia's civil aviation sector due to sanctions and the resultant impact on the safety and maintenance of its aircraft fleet.