Russia threatens to “nationalize” leased Boeing and Airbus planes
According to the latest reports, Russian Deputy Transport Minister Igor Shalik and senior officials from Aeroflot Group, S7 Group, Ural Airlines and Utair discussed the possibility of “nationalizing” the leased Airbus and Boeing planes which are currently in service with Russian air carriers. .
Such a drastic measure is proposed in response to the ban on selling and leasing planes to Russian airlines, which was introduced by the European Union last week.
Last week, Brussels announced that leasing companies had until March 28 to terminate current rental contracts in Russia.
“This ban on the sale of all aircraft, spare parts and equipment to Russian airlines will degrade one of the key sectors of the Russian economy and the country’s connectivity, as three quarters of the current commercial airline fleet of Russia were built in the EU, the United States and Canada,” the European Council said in a press release issued on February 25.
Russia’s largest airlines operated 491 aircraft manufactured by Airbus, Boeing and Embraer as of mid-February 2022. By the end of 2021, they carried 80 million people, or 72% of total Russian airline passenger traffic.
Moscow has warned the West that it will retaliate against sanctions targeting its aviation industry. A final decision on the nationalization of foreign aircraft has not been made, but an announcement is expected by the end of the week, the sources said.
Carriers not having the right to keep the jets when the lessors claim them, the nationalization of the fleet is the most “realistic” scenario for the Russians.
“There are no other options [to maintain efficiency] right now,” a source familiar with the discussion said.
The source added that the decision must be made by the Russian government. If they choose to purchase the liners, the possibility will need to be discussed with the US and EU.
Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency told media the matter was at the assessment stage, when asked about the possible nationalization of foreign airliners.
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