Russia’s Flight Safety Crisis: Struggling to Maintain Aircraft Amidst Economic Sanctions


Increasing Safety Incidents Plague Poorly-Maintained Russian Aircraft

In recent years, there has been a significant increase in flight safety incidents in Russia. One such incident occurred in September 2023 when law enforcement officers were photographed standing next to a Ural Airlines Airbus A320 passenger plane after it had to make an emergency landing in a Siberian field. The number of flight safety incidents in Russia has doubled since the beginning of the Ukraine war, with 81 cases reported in 2023 compared to 37 cases in 2022.

The Jet Airliner Crash Data Evaluation Centre attributed this increase to Russia’s struggle to maintain its aircraft due to economic sanctions that have been imposed on the country. Aviation analyst Andrei Menshenin explained that the shortage of parts has forced Russia to resort to unorthodox methods, including receiving US-made aircraft parts through the black market and cannibalizing spare parts from grounded jets.

However, these methods come with their own risks. In August 2023, two Boeing 777s operated by Red Wings experienced technical issues and were grounded in Turkey, leaving hundreds of passengers stranded. The following month, a Ural Airlines Airbus A320 passenger plane had to make an emergency landing in a Siberian field after its hydraulic systems failed.

Despite these incidents, representatives for Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency have not yet responded to requests for comment. This silence highlights the seriousness of the situation and underscores the need for greater accountability and transparency from the Russian government regarding flight safety concerns.

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