A Russian investigative news publication has claimed that the nation’s flag carrier, Aeroflot, asked staff to stop logging malfunctions on flights.
According to current and former employees of the airline who spoke with Proek the advice was designed to prevent aircraft from being grounded, which would have been necessary until the issue was fixed.
Proek’s report revealed that senior flight attendants received an email in March 2022 saying that they should only enter comments on the cabin equipment in the logbook in “agreement with aircraft commander”.
According to Proek issues which are no longer recorded in the logbook, include problems with oxygen cylinders that are used in case of depressurization or for emergency medical care on board the aircraft.
One flight attendant described to Proek how they flew from Moscow to the United Arab Emirates without a full set of oxygen cylinders on board.
They said the problem had not been logged due to the pilot having previously considered it “inappropriate to make an entry in the logbook”.
“Earlier, before the war, this rule was strictly observed: they wrote every little thing and fixed it all right there,” a former employee said.
It is not only at Aeroflot that the dangerous new trend is being seen, with other airlines reportedly also limiting problems being recorded to prevent aircraft being grounded.
A former pilot of the Russian airline Nordwind told the Proek that in January 2023 at the Kazan Airport (KZN) in Russia, fuel suddenly poured out from under the hood of the Boeing 737 while passengers were onboard.
“It turned out that, according to the engineers, this had already happened several times with this aircraft, but not a single entry was made in the logbook about this – the airline administration asked not to write anything,” the pilot recalled, adding that he decided to make an entry anyway.
Sanctions imposed on Russia due to its invasion of Ukraine have meant that aviation companies are prevented from servicing the country’s aircraft or providing spare parts.
It was recently reported that Iran, another country heavily sanctioned by the West, was providing maintenance for some Aeroflot aircraft.
“Any malfunction can lead to tragedy, because all aviation rules are written in blood. But now they have begun to turn a blind eye to some of the violations,” a flight attendant who left Aeroflot last year said.