Russia’s flag carrier Aeroflot bought eight Airbus A330-300 wide-body airliners the company previously leased. 

The aircraft were owned by unnamed foreign lessors and have already been reregistered in Russia, Aeroflot spokesperson reportedly told Russian state news agency TASS. 

Reportedly, the aircraft will soon be used for international flights, such as the ones to the Maldives, Turkey or Uzbekistan, recently announced by the airline. 

The purchase was made possible by an exception provided by the sanctions that were declared by the European Union in the aftermath of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.  

According to TASS, the exception allows Russian airlines to purchase the aircraft that they leased before February 26, 2022.  

Before the attack, the majority of airliners operated by Russian companies were leased from Western companies and registered in Western countries, such as Ireland and Bermuda.  

In mid-March Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law allowing the country’s airlines to reregister foreign-owned aircraft instead of returning them to lessors. However, this restricted the flights those airlines can perform to Russia, as landing in nearly any foreign country would result in the aircraft risking being impounded. 

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