Facing a severe shortage of spare parts for commercial aircraft made in the West because of embargoes, Russian airlines will soon be able to replenish their stocks with locally produced items bearing the Moscow seal.
The sanctions imposed by the United States, European Union countries and other states in response to the invasion of Ukraine stipulate, among others, that spare parts for commercial aircraft cannot be delivered to Russian carriers.
To get around the issue, the country’s civil aviation authority, Rosaviatsiya, recently authorized five Russian companies to produce replacement parts for Western aircraft, mainly Airbus and Boeing models.
With the regulatory agency’s approval, Russian suppliers can copy and self-produce replacement parts for Western planes in service with Russian airlines. The certification of these components will be granted by Rosaviatsiya itself.
The installation of these parts, however, is not internationally recognized and can lead to a huge devaluation of the aircraft, apart from the operational risk. Furthermore, the components are unlikely to receive subsequent certifications from regulatory agencies in other countries.
The strategy of copying and manufacturing spare parts for airliners has been used for many years in Iran, one of the countries that suffers from some of the most restrictive trade embargoes in the world.
This would be one of the many reasons why Iranian aviation has a high accident rate and why commercial aircraft operated by companies in the country are not accepted in the second-hand market.
Hundreds of Western aircraft, mostly A320 and 737 jets, fly in Russia, including Aeroflot, three decades after the end of communism. Most of these jetliners are leased and illegally held in the country.
Already predicting that the scenario will last for a long time, the Russian government started a program to return to the production of old commercial aircraft like the Il-96 and Tu-214, assembled with indigenous components, however, obsolete.