LONDON – This year is not the year for Russian airlines, as the country faces backlashes from its invasion of Ukraine.
Western sanctions on Ukraine have placed its aviation industry to its knees due to the unavailability of spare parts and the lack of services to such aircraft operating in Russia.
The European Commission (EC) has updated its EU Air Safety List, synonymous with ‘dangerous’ or airlines with poor maintenance records, which means all airlines on the list are subject to an operating ban or massive restrictions on their operations above European Air Space.
The reason why the EC has placed Russian airlines on the naughty list is that Russian Airlines do not longer meet international safety standards.
There are now currently 21 airlines certified and operating in Russia that is now included in the EU Air Safety list.
Russia is slowly becoming a pariah state, especially in its aviation industry, this has thus raised serious safety concerns about the operations beyond Russian borders.
Russia has also forced operators to re-register its aircraft to ‘RA’, instead of registration of conveniences like the Cayman Islands or Bermuda, without carriers having to present a valid certificate of airworthiness during the re-registration process.
This is serious, and the practice is not in line with international practices.
Commissioner for Transport Adina Vălean said: “The Russian Federal Air Transport Agency has allowed Russian airlines to operate hundreds of foreign-owned aircraft without a valid Certificate of Airworthiness.”
“The Russian airlines concerned have knowingly done so in breach of relevant international safety standards. This is not only a clear breach of the Convention on International Civil Aviation (the Chicago Convention) but also poses an immediate safety threat.”
“We are living in the context of Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified military aggression against Ukraine.”
“However, I want to make it crystal clear that this decision is not another sanction against Russia; it has been taken solely on the basis of technical and safety grounds. We do not mix safety with politics.”
Russia is now being put on the list along with 117 airlines that are banned from the skies of the European Union. There are currently 90 airlines registered in 15 member states, due to the lack of safety and oversight.
These countries include Russia, Nigeria, Iraq, ZImbabwe, Venezeuala etc. To name a few airlines: Avior Airlines (Venezuela), Blue Wing Airlines (Suriname), Iran Aseman Airlines (Iran), Iraqi Airways (Iraq), Med-View Airlines (Nigeria) and Air Zimbabwe (Zimbabwe).
Some airlines from the banned member states however can apply to fly above EU skies but are subject to specific aircraft types such as Iran Air and Air Koryo.
To add airlines to the EU Air Safety List is by means not an easy task. The list is based on the advice of aviation safety experts.