Russia asks Bermuda to de-register Russian aircraft following safety concerns

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Russian airlines have asked the Bermuda aviation authorities to deregister aircraft that have since been re-registered in Russia, the Ministry of Transport of the Russian Federation said. 

“Russian aviation companies sent Bermuda’s aviation authority a notice regarding the necessity of deregistering the aircraft. In order to avoid breaking Article 18 of Chicago convention by the Bermuda’s aviation authority, said authority has to remove the aircraft, that were registered and are being used in the Russian Federation, from its aviation registry,” a statement by the Russian Ministry of Transport reads. 

The statement also says that Russia does not agree with the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) concerns regarding safety issues posed by many Russian-owned aircraft being registered in two separate countries. 

Prior to Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, most aircraft operated by Russian airlines were leased from Western lessors and registered in Bermuda, reportedly for tax evasion purposes. Due to the sanctions invoked following the invasion, the lessors demanded that the aircraft be returned to which Russian authorities responded by re-registering the aircraft within Russia.  

On June 15 the ICAO issued a closed bulletin saying that double registration poses a safety risk and demanded Russia solve the issue or face being declared a country with flight safety issues.  

“Ensuring flight safety is the highest priority of Russian aviation authorities,” the Russian Ministry of Transport statement said. 

“We want to remind that, since Bermuda’s aviation authorities revoked flight certificates for the Russian aircraft, Russian Federation stopped intergovernmental agreements that relegated Bermuda’s aviation authorities to oversee airworthiness of the aircraft,” the statement continued.  

“Transferring the aircraft to the Russian registry gave Russian aviation authority the possibility to oversee the airworthiness of the aircraft and issue flight certificates in accordance to established norms and requirements.”  

Article 18 of the Convention on International Civil Aviation (Chicago Convention) states that “An aircraft cannot be validly registered in more than one State, but its registration may be changed from one State to another.” 

UPDATE 06-28-2022, 10:20 (UTC +3): Bermuda Civil Aviation Authority (BCAA) received a number of letters from Russian airlines requesting that the aircraft be deregistered, according to BCAA Director General Thomas Dunstan.

“Our response is consistent in that we will deregister aircraft on request from the owner, in accordance with the relevant BCAA legislation and procedures,” Dunstan explained to AeroTime.

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