Russian airlines are increasingly seriously feeling the effects of sanctions imposed for the war in Ukraine. The remaining fleet of foreign airliners is gradually falling into disrepair due to the inability to receive quality service and purchase the necessary spare parts.
On Monday, Red Wings Airlines requested an additional airplane from Ikar Airlines to take passengers of delayed flights from Yekaterinburg to Antalya and back after two Boeing-777 aircraft failed at once.
The flight in both directions is waiting for 410 people, the Red Wings press service told Interfax. The flight from Antalya to Yekaterinburg was supposed to depart on August 12. That is, people have been waiting for almost two days. It is not specified what exactly broke down in the airplanes. The Urals Transport Prosecutor’s Office has begun an inspection of the airline’s activities in providing passenger transportation services.
This is not the first flight delay at Red Wings over the summer. On August 4, 86 people could not fly from Yekaterinburg to Astana for 11 hours. The reason was not given.
On July 29, a Red Wings flight from Ufa to Alma-Ata was delayed for more than 8 hours “due to unscheduled maintenance”. And on July 21, 411 passengers of the same airline waited for more than 7 hours for a flight from Yekaterinburg to Antalya.
Red Wings is one of the top ten Russian carriers in terms of passenger traffic and is based at Domodedovo, Zhukovsky, Koltsovo (Yekaterinburg), Balandino (Chelyabinsk) and Makhachkala airports.
Abnormal situations started to occur at other Russian airlines as well. On August 4, a Smartavia flight from Chelyabinsk to St. Petersburg was delayed for 8 hours. It was reported that this happened “due to a technical reason, by decision of the airline”.
On July 11, the same problem was voiced by S7, whose flight from Omsk to Moscow with 188 passengers was delayed for more than 7 hours.
Since the spring of 2022, air carriers have required staff not to enter equipment defects into flight logbooks (TLB), which often results in planes flying malfunctioning, Project wrote. It was also reported that Aeroflot pilots began disabling faulty brakes because they could not be replaced.
“Russian avos works in aviation as well. It is understandable that it is scary to fly on avos, but, unfortunately, this is what happens in many airlines in the country now”, a former Nordwind pilot noted.
In early August, Sergey Chemezov, head of Rostec State Corporation, reported to Vladimir Putin that Russian airlines will start losing their remaining foreign airplanes from 2025, as the airliners will need “overhauls and so on”.
Now domestic carriers are forced to dismantle a certain number of aircraft for spare parts to maintain the airworthiness of existing machines. Civil aviation “badly needs” domestic airliners, Chemezov told Putin, but so far the scale of production is more than modest.
According to Rosstat, Russia produced only two heavy civil aircraft in the first half of 2023: one in February and the other in June. The SSJ-100 production volumes are three times behind the plan. Due to import equipment supply failures, Irkut Corporation will be able to produce only 6 aircraft instead of 19. The IL-114-300 passenger airplanes, which were planned to be used for regional flights, will not be produced on time either.
According to Oliver Wyman experts’ forecast, by 2026 Russia risks losing half of the 736 airliners it currently has.