Russia to refocus aviation industry amid West’s sanctions
Published: Mar 09, 2022 07:32 PM
An airplane of Russian carrier Aeroflot is seen landing on the runway at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport on January 5, 2022. Photo: AFP

An airplane of Russian carrier Aeroflot is seen landing on the runway at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport on January 5, 2022. Photo: AFP

Click here to stay tuned with our live updates on Ukraine tensions.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade of Russia said that the Russian aviation industry will focus on importing substitute systems and equipment used in aircraft, China Media Group reported on Wednesday, following the West's sanctions on its aviation industry including blocking the sale of aircraft, parts and technical support to the country.

According to the Russian ministry, the country will refocus on its aerospace industry, and the United Aircraft Corporation, a Russian aerospace and defense corporation, will aim to increase the annual production of Sukhoi Superjet-100 regional airliners to 40 each year.

Analysts have claimed that Russia's aviation sector may face headwinds under Western sanctions. According to data released by Cirium, an aviation data analysis firm, there are some 332 Boeing aircraft amongst the Russian airline fleet of 861 aircraft in service now, so Boeing's withdrawal of technical support for Russian airlines may have a negative impact on the sector.

The number of daily flights in Russia has dropped rapidly. According to a report released by Chinese flight tracking platform Feichangzhun, on February 24 when the military conflict in Ukraine started, the number of daily takeoffs and landings dropped by 19 percent compared to regular levels.

Flight numbers further dropped when Russia and the European Union closed their airspace to each other, with takeoffs and landings totaling 1,500 per day. 

Industry insiders noted that sanctions between the West and Russia will also affect global flights, with a number of airways being forced to reroute or cancel their flights.  

On Monday, the International Air Transport Association released an analysis report addressing the impact of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine on aviation, noting that the most heavily impacted markets are Europe-Asia and Asia-North America, including flights between the US and Northeast Asia, and between Northern Europe and most of Asia.

In terms of air cargo, the Europe-Asia market represented 20.6 percent of all international cargo ton kilometers (CTKs) over the past 12 months, while the Asia-North America trade lanes accounted for 26.7 percent of global international CTKs.

The report noted that flight bans and sanctions will cause a loss of capacity, affecting Europe-Asia routes and exacerbating a current capacity crunch.

Moreover, if the Western sanctions against Russia intensify, all airlines that have not hedged their fuel needs will feel the pinch as the aviation fuel prices rose significantly on the market. Airlines may pass on the cost of fuel to passengers by raising airfares, which could reduce passenger demand for air travel as booking costs begin to bite, the report said. 

Global Times