Amid the Western sanctions banning not only flights to and from Russia but also the maintenance of aircraft belonging to Russian airlines, Russia’s largest carrier Aeroflot has been forced to send one of its Airbus A330-300s to Iran for repair, the Russian news website RBC reported on Monday.
The first time a Russian airline has sent one of its aircraft to Iran for repair, the maintenance work will be done by Iranian airline Mahan Air. The A330-300 reportedly arrived in Tehran on April 5.
Aeroflot confirmed that it had sent one of its aircraft to Iran for maintenance, and stressed that Mahan Air had "the necessary equipment and facilities, certificates and vast experience” for the job and that it expected the maintenance to be performed “to a high level of quality," RBC reported.
Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine last February, the European Union and the U.S. both imposed sanctions on the Russian airline industry — banning Russian aircraft from their airspace as well as banning the sale of spare parts, maintaining and insuring planes used by Russian airlines and requiring leasing companies to end all aircraft leases to Russian carriers.
The strict rules left Russian airlines with little choice but to start cannibalizing grounded aircraft for spare parts.
In July 2022, Russia signed an agreement with Iran, which has itself been under international sanctions for many years, for the supply of equipment and spare parts for Russia's aviation industry, as well as for the repair and maintenance of Russian aircraft.