- Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law authorizing the seizure of hundreds of Western-built planes operated by Russian airlines.
- The planes belong to aircraft lessors, who canceled contracts following sanctions against Russia.
- The seizure could pose a risk to passengers as the planes may not receive proper maintenance repairs due to the sanctions.
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On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law that will allow Russian airlines to take control of hundreds of Western-built planes leased to international companies, Russian news agency TASS reported, according to the Wall Street Journal. .
The jets will be added to the country’s aircraft registry and deployed on domestic routes, according to Reuters. The news comes shortly after the island of Bermuda revoked the certificates of airworthiness of more than 700 planes leased from Russia, which went into effect on Saturday evening. Russia had previously banned some international flights to prevent planes from resuming.
Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the EU has forced aircraft leasing companies to cancel their contracts with Russian airlines by March 28, meaning these foreign planes must be returned to their owners.
However, Russian authorities and airlines have made it difficult, and Putin is adding another hurdle.
EU and US sanctions have cut off Russian airlines from aircraft makers Airbus and Boeing, which produced the bulk of leased planes. This means that the two Western companies cannot provide support in the form of maintenance, spare parts or updates for the complex machines, which could pose a risk to passengers and airline staff, noted. the Wall Street Journal.
As Boeing and Airbus are prohibited from shipping spare parts to Russia, this could force airlines to turn to risky alternatives, such as buying uncertified supplies from China or “cannibalizing” spare parts. aircraft on the ground, including rental aircraft.
According to aviation consultancy Ishka, $10 billion worth of planes are stuck in Russia.
“Lenders may end up having to cancel,” Agency Partners analyst Nick Cunningham told Bloomberg.