Russia starts stripping jetliners for parts as sanctions bite

MOSCOW: Russian airlines, including state-controlled AeroflotFour industry sources told Reuters.
These steps are in line with Russian government advice in June for airlines to use some aircraft for parts to ensure the rest of foreign-made aircraft can continue to fly less. especially by 2025.
Sanctions imposed on Russia after it sent troops into Ukraine in late February have made it impossible for the country’s airlines to purchase spare parts or maintenance in the West.
Aviation experts have said that Russian airlines will likely start taking parts from their planes to keep them flying, but these are the first detailed examples.
At least one Russian-made Sukhoi Superjet 100 and one Airbus A350, both operated by Aeroflot, are currently grounded and being disassembled, a source familiar with the matter said.
The source declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of the issue.
The source said the Airbus A350 is almost brand new.
The bulk of Russia’s fleet consists of Western passenger jets.
The source said the equipment was sourced from several of Aeroflot’s Boeing 737s and Airbus A320s, as the airline needed more spare parts from these models for its other Boeing 737s and Airbus A320s.
The Russian Ministry of Transport and Aeroflot did not respond to requests for comment.
The Russian-assembled Sukhoi superjumbos are also heavily dependent on foreign parts. The first source said an engine was removed from one Superjet to allow another Superjet to continue flying.
To be sure, the engines are frequently swapped between planes and are often offered under separate contracts, industry experts say. They are not considered part of the core airframe.
A source in the Western aviation industry said it was “only a matter of time” before the Russian plane was cannibalized.
Newer generations of jets – the A320neo, A350, Boeing 737 MAX and 787 – have technology that must be constantly updated.
Western sources say that within a year of the sanctions coming into force, it will be a “challenge” to keep modern jets in service even for a capable technical base and highly developed Russia.
The practice of removing parts to keep another plane afloat is often referred to as turning unused planes into “Christmas trees”. Although relatively rare, it is often associated with financial difficulties and has never occurred on the same scale as the widely anticipated reshuffle in Russia to address the impact of sanctions.
Jets can be brought back into service provided the removed parts are returned, although this does not necessarily recreate the traceability required for the aircraft to react. force to re-enter the global market.
Many parts have a limited lifespan that must be logged.
Nearly 80% of Aeroflot’s fleet consists of Boeings and Airbuses – it has 134 Boeings and 146 Airbuses, along with nearly 80 Russian-made Sukhoi Superjet-100s at the end of last year, based on the latest data available.
According to Reuters calculations based on data from Flightradar24, about 50 Aeroflot planes – or 15 per cent of the airline’s fleet, which includes jets stranded due to sanctions – have not taken off since the end of the month. Seven.
Flightradar24 data shows that three of the seven Airbus A350s operated by Aeroflot, including one currently used for parts, have not taken off for about three months.
Russian airlines fly fewer routes as Western sanctions mean there are unused planes grounding that could be stripped, a second source said.
“Western manufacturers understand that almost all super fighter jets are operated in Russia,” said Oleg Panteleev, head of the aviation organization Aviaport. “You could just stop making and shipping spare parts – and that would hurt.”
The development plan of the Russian aviation industry to 2030 estimates that Russia may face the biggest challenges with the A350 and Bombardier Q series when their maintenance is carried out abroad.
The Russian government advice envisages “partial dismantling of certain parts of the fleet”, which would keep two-thirds of the foreign fleet operational by the end of 2025.
The main challenge will be keeping the engines and sophisticated electronics in order, Panteleev said.
“It will be very difficult to fix them,” he said.
The company’s data shows that Aeroflot, once among the top airlines in the world but now dependent on state support, saw a 22% drop in traffic in the second quarter of this year from a year ago. The company’s data shows, after the sanctions prevented the airline from flying to most destinations in the West.
The sources said that securing supplies from countries that do not impose sanctions on Russia will not help as companies from Asia and the Middle East fear the risk of sanctions by Western governments. secondary punishment against them.
“Each part has its own (unique) number, and if the documents will have the Russian airline as the final buyer, then no one will agree to supply, neither China nor Dubai,” the first source said. adds that all parts must be known to Boeing and Airbus before they are made available to end users.

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