Russia lost 76 aircraft due to sanctions, according to minister 

Aeroflot settlement lessor

Russia has had 76 commercial aircraft seized abroad as a result of the sanctions that followed its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, according to the Transports Minister of the Russian Federation, Vitaly Savelyev. 

Speaking to Russian media, Savelyev, who served as CEO of flag carrier Aeroflot between 2009 and 2020, admitted his ministry was not prepared for this situation. He also shared some figures about the impact sanctions have had in the country’s commercial aviation industry. 

The 76 aircraft the minister referred to are aircraft that happened to be temporarily outside of Russia for a variety of reasons, such as maintenance or the fulfillment of commercial services, at the time when sanctions were introduced and were, thus, seized wherever they were. 

In addition to the 76 aircraft that were unable to return to Russian territory, a significant portion of the Russian airliner fleet has seen their capacity to operate seriously restricted and not just due to the fact that Boeing and Airbus stopped servicing Russian operators.  

At the start of the war, more than half of airliners operated by Russian airlines were leased and about two thirds of Western-made ones were registered either in Bermuda or in Ireland. Russia refused to return those aircraft to its lessors and, while Russian firms have since purchased some of the affected aircraft from their lessors, a legal battle is still ongoing.

This means that, as of November 2023, Russian airlines are only able to operate international flights to 11 countries which have offered guarantees against potential seizures. 

At the moment the Russian commercial aircraft fleet is composed of 1,302 aircraft, of which 1,176 are for passenger transportation. Over 800 aircraft have been re-registered in Russia since 2022.

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