Russia’s national carrier, Aeroflot, has flown one of its Airbus A330-300 wide-body to Iran for repairs to circumvent Western sanctions put in place after Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022.
It is the first time in the airline’s history that one of its aircraft has been sent to Iran for maintenance.
According to news website RBC, the jet flew to Tehran on April 5, 2023, and is being looked at by engineers from Iran’s largest airline, Mahan Air.
“Maintenance of the Airbus A330 aircraft [in Iran] will be performed by the provider on a wide range of works. The organization [Mahan Air] has the necessary material base, certificates and vast experience, the provider performs maintenance with a high level of quality,” an Aeroflot spokesperson said.
As well as Western sanctions preventing Russian aircraft flying over United States and EU airspace, rules also prevent companies from carrying out maintenance on its jets or providing the carrier with spare parts.
It is understood that Iran has developed extensive knowledge in repairing aircraft over a number of decades due to its own sanctions restricting the country’s ability to receive help outside of its borders.
Iran, an ally of Russia, also does not support Western sanctions, making it a prized partner for Aeroflot.
In March 2022, Russian Minister of Transport Vitaly Savelyev said the country would use “Iran’s experience” in circumventing Western sanctions.
Aeroflot has previously used Hong Kong-based HAECO for maintenance of its aircraft. In 2021, the airline signed a long-term agreement with the Chinese MRO provider for servicing and repairs.
Aeroflot has over 170 aircraft manufactured by Airbus and Boeing.