LONDON – Now that the vast majority of nationalization has occurred, the Russian government has asked the Bermudan authorities to de-register aircraft over the weekend.
This comes following a release distributed by the Ministry of Transport in Russia amidst concerns about the safety of flights that operate under two registrations.
In this case, it would be the Russian RA registration and the Bermudan VP or VQ lines.
Dual Registration Was Necessary…
The Russian Government said the following regarding the necessity of having dual registration at the time of nationalization:
“The transfer of aircraft to the Russian registry enabled the Federal Air Transport Agency to perform the functions of supervising the maintenance of the airworthiness of aircraft and issuing airworthiness certificates confirming the aircraft’s compliance with established standards and requirements.”
“This approach is consistent with the provisions of Articles 17-19 of the Chicago Convention, which provide for the transfer of registration of aircraft from one state to another and the registration or change of registration of aircraft.”
“Russian airlines have sent notifications to the Bermuda aviation authorities about the need to deregister aircraft.”
“In order to exclude a violation of Art. 18 of the Chicago Convention on the part of the Bermuda aviation authorities, they need to exclude aircraft registered and operated in the Russian Federation from their register.”
As it stands, around 1,274 aircraft are operated in Russia, of which 1,207 are on the Russian aircraft register.
Around 1,151 of the 1,207 are passenger aircraft that would have recently had their registrations changed, in what the West is deeming as theft of assets.
This has resulted in the likes of AerCap and other lessors having to file insurance claims to make money back on the assets it had distributed to Russian carriers on leasing arrangements.
Russia has deemed some sanctions under the Chicago Convention as “illegitimate unilateral restrictive measures”.
Backing Themselves Up on Maintenance…
The Russian Government also took the opportunity to back themselves up when the question of maintenance and safety came up:
“Today, the Russian Federation has every opportunity to maintain aircraft and maintain their airworthiness. This work can be carried out by 11 organizations with sufficient resources and qualified personnel capable of dealing with repairs of varying complexity.”
“The companies have the necessary technologies, hangars, stands, and equipment. Aircraft maintenance continues to be carried out by the same specialists and tools as before.”
“Thus, the Russian aviation authorities confirm the compliance of aircraft transferred to the Russian register with international and Russian airworthiness requirements. Aircraft flight safety is ensured and maintained at a high level.”
What remains clear is that there is still a lot of behind-the-scenes debate and argument ongoing, with this coming from the West, in particular, to add as much sting onto Russia as possible for the actions taken during the re-nationalization of aircraft during the Ukraine Crisis.
It will be interesting to see what happens next in these developments and whether the aircraft will be returned, especially in the wake of the investment announced by the Russian Government to produce 1,000 aircraft by 2030.