Russia’s flagship airline Aeroflot has begun stripping its passenger planes for parts after Western sanctions over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine cut it off from international equipment and services on which it relies heavily, Reuters reported.
Russia’s 2030 aviation industry strategy calls for the “partial dismantling” of some foreign-made aircraft to maintain two-thirds of the country’s fleet operational until 2025.
According to Reuters, at least one nearly new Airbus A350 and one Russian-built Sukhoi Superjet 100 are grounded and disassembled.
Some of Aeroflot’s Boeing 737s and Airbus A320s are also being used to keep other flights flying. These are the first specific examples of what aviation experts fear will cannibalize Russian-based jets as the impact of Western sanctions becomes clearer.
According to an identified source, international travel restrictions imposed on Russian airlines as retaliation for the Ukraine conflict imply that grounded aircraft can be disassembled for parts.
Using flight data, experts calculated that at least 50 of Aeroflot’s 360 planes have not taken off since July. As a result, Aeroflot’s traffic was down 22% from the previous year from April through June.
Secondary restrictions are intended to deter companies from Asian and Middle Eastern countries that have not placed sanctions on Russia from delivering necessary aircraft equipment.
“Each single part has its own unique number, and if the documents show a Russian airline as the final buyer, no one would accept to provide, not China or Dubai,” a source told Reuters.