Airbus says Russian airlines are flying more of their jets than before the pandemic.
The CEO of Airbus has warned of safety concerns over Russian airlines flying without necessary maintenance or spare parts – as sanctions are preventing the French aviation giant from servicing their planes.
Russian carriers are reportedly flying their Airbus planes more than before the Covid-19 pandemic brought the aviation industry to a halt.
“We are worried about the conditions for maintenance as actually the planes are flying a lot,” Guillaume Faury, the CEO of Airbus, said on a media call on Friday.
The chief executive acknowledged that Airbus does not currently have a clear view of the situation of these aircraft after losing technical support from the manufacturer, as part of Western sanctions following the invasion of Ukraine.
“We start to hear about situations where they are missing parts or components or an inability to keep some of the planes in flight. But we are not speaking with the Russian airlines. We miss visibility. And yes, we are slightly concerned about the way the planes are operated, but we have no real means to act,” said Faury on the call.
“Now, there’s not much we can do about it.”
Currently, Western aircraft, from Boeing, Airbus, Embraer and ATR, account for about 95% of commercial flights in Russia.
Due to the sanctions, imports into the country – especially those of aircraft and their spare parts – have collapsed, creating a problem for the country, which heavily relies on tech imports.
Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency (FAVT), also known as Rosaviatsiya, has approved the cannibalization of parked aircraft to keep the fleet flying.
The CEO of the state-owned Aeroflot Group, Sergey Alexandrovsky, stated late last year that spare parts supplies would last between two and six months, depending on the part in question.
The Russian government has accelerated the development of local planes such as the MC-21, an alternative to the A320 and 737.
The goal is to produce about 1,000 Russian aircraft to virtually eliminate dependence on Western aircraft by the end of the decade.