Ukraine Crisis: Aeroflot Airbus A330 Grounded in Colombo, Sri Lanka Due to Court Order

Masakatsu Ukon, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

LONDON – An Aeroflot Airbus A330 has been grounded in Colombo, Sri Lanka following an arrest warrant being issued for the aircraft.

The arrest warrant was issued on behalf of Selective Aviation Trading Limited, which is in alignment with aircraft lessor GECAS, as the leasing giant looks to acquire some aircraft stolen by the Russian Government.

Such nationalization of aircraft took place through the re-registering of aircraft back to the Russian registry of RA.

Now, these aircraft are doing international flights, this does open up the potential for groundings to occur once again, meaning the lessors will actually be able to get their aircraft back.

The hearing for the release of the aircraft is due to take place on June 8, which is around five days away, where an appeal by Aeroflot is expected to be lodged.


RA-73702 was the particular aircraft affected by this grounding, which is one of Aeroflot’s Airbus A330-300 aircraft.

The airframe was delivered back in April 2012 under the Bermudan registration of VQ-BMY, which is the typical registry for such leased aircraft.

VQ-BMY was re-registered into its current form back in April this year, as the Ukraine Crisis continued to worsen as sanctions kept hitting Russia.

Data provided by

Data provided by shows that RA-73702’s last flight was from Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport and commenced a nine-hour and eight-minute flight to Colombo, Sri Lanka.

SU288 departed Moscow at 2331 local time, before arriving in Colombo at 1110 local time the next day.

The next flight was scheduled to depart today, but of course, with the aircraft now being grounded by the Sri Lankan authorities, these flights will probably be canceled until further notice.

More than 200 passengers were due to be on the return leg today but have been canceled, with tourists being directed to the relevant hotels until they can provide an update.

According to local media in Sri Lanka, discussions are currently underway between authorities and Aeroflot to get the aircraft released sooner, although this is unlikely.

More Bad News for Aeroflot…

This is more bad news for Aeroflot, especially with the news that it cannot sell its slots out of London Heathrow due to the sanctions imposed by the UK Government.

On top of this, the carrier has also lost its delivery slots for upcoming Airbus A350 deliveries to Turkish Airlines.

With the airline also purchasing eight Airbus aircraft from lessors, this latest grounding will no doubt result in Aeroflot having to spend more money on the jets, especially after recently launching international flights again.

The airline has also been suspended temporarily from SkyTeam and has even had its offices raided by the FSB due to its former deputy CEO calling for sabotage of the war effort.

Overall, sanctions continue to put even more pressure on Aeroflot and are definitely being seen as a representation of how badly hit Russia is becoming due to this crisis continuing.

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