DALLAS – To ensure the supply of spare parts until the end of 2022, Russian carrier Pobeda (DP) has reduced its fleet from 41 to 25 aircraft.
Pobeda, Aeroflot’s (SU) ultra-low-cost offering, is Russia’s third-largest airline, with over 40 Boeing 737-800s in service. DP operates scheduled services to domestic and international destinations, mainly from its hub, Vnukovo International Airport (VKO). The SU subsidiary was founded in 2014.
Hundreds of Russian airlines’ airplane leases are to be ended by Monday, March 28. The Russian government, however, is planning to not allow the leased aircraft to be returned to their owners. As the jet registrations are revoked, Russia passed a law allowing the leased aircraft to be registered as Russian airlines property
Despite most Russian-flown planes registered in Ireland and Bermuda having had their airworthiness certifications withdrawn, many of them continue to fly. However, notwithstanding the Cape Town Treaty requirements, and thanks to the sanctions, Russia is now unable to obtain parts for these aircraft on the open market.
Inability to Procure Spare Parts
A viewfromthewing.com report contends that despite speculation that Russian airlines could continue to operate indefinitely in an Iran-style manner, procuring parts in secret, it would be at a lower level of flying than before the sanctions. What we know so far is that DP expects to be able to keep only 60% of its existing fleet operational this year.
Not all Russian carriers’ leased planes have been swiped with the Russian re-registry move; at least 78 have been repossessed while outside Russia. Additionally, not all airlines continue to fly aircraft that they no longer have a legal right to under international law. According to View from the Wing, the private UTAir has announced that its nine leased Boeing 737s would be retired from service.
As Gary Leff puts it, even if sanctions against Russia are repealed soon, the usage of parts purchased outside of sanctions and cannibalizing parts from other planes will most likely result in incomplete or erroneous maintenance records, rendering the aircraft totally worthless. “It’s the maintenance records that allow a plane to hold value.”
Featured image: Pobeda VP-BPU Boeing 737-800. Lorenzo Giacobbo/Airways