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Alarm Over Russian Airlines Flying Expired Spare Parts

Aircraft at Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport. Alexander Avilov / Moskva News Agency

Russian airlines performed 2,000 flights on Western aircraft with expired parts last year as sanctions acutely hit the country's air sector, the Kommersant business daily reported Wednesday, citing federal transportation authorities.

Viktor Basargin, the head of state transportation watchdog Rostransnadzor, shared the alarming figure with the lower-house State Duma's Transport Committee behind closed doors. 

He noted that unscheduled inspections at several hundred airlines have revealed a shortage of components and significant delays with deliveries.

“We have recorded many instances of aviation equipment being operated with violations that directly affect flight safety,” Basargin was quoted as saying without specifying whether the 2,000 figure concerned commercial or all types of flights.

“Some specific products are simply impossible to bring in.”

Russia’s state air traffic management corporation managed 1.4 million flights, including transit and international routes, in 2022.

Industry experts warn that Russian airlines risk facing a shortage of Western aircraft due to maintenance and airworthiness issues sparked by sanctions passed over the invasion of Ukraine.

But major airlines cited by Kommersant denied using expired parts and speculated that Rostransnadzor may have included minor violations in its tally. 

And Basargin maintained that 2022 was recognized as the safest year in flight safety over the past five years despite the sanctions.

Basargin’s comments follow reporting by independent media this week that Russia’s flagship airline Aeroflot has asked its employees to report fewer aircraft malfunctions to keep flight numbers up.

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