Russia says it’s stepping up production and development of domestic airliners in light of sanctions that have virtually grounded its fleet of Western-built aircraft and trapped dozens overseas. Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borosov said the main focus will be on MS-21 wide body and SuperJet 100-seat airliners. “There has been no halt to the work of these enterprises and there will be none. Everyone is continuing work,” Borisov said, according to a government statement. “I stress again—we will press on with the implementation of our MS-21 and SSJ-100 flagship projects,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Russian government is tallying up the damage from Western sanctions and airspace closures and it’s considerable. Transport Minister Vitaly Savelyev said in statement that 78 Russian aircraft have been “seized” abroad although “stranded” might be a more accurate term. Most countries have closed their airspace to Russian aircraft so any that happened to be on the ground when the closures went into effect weren’t able to leave. Canada has further tightened its airspace closure to ban Russian humanitarian flights. On the first day of its airspace closure on Feb. 27, a scheduled Aeroflot flight from Miami to Moscow was labeled as a humanitarian flight to get its flight plan for Canadian airspace approved and it spent several hours under Nav Canada control.
The Russian government’s new law allowing airlines to re-register their leased Boeings and Airbuses in Russia is not getting a lot of takers. The airlines are worried about the long-term consequences of them essentially stealing billions of dollars’ worth of aircraft. Russia claims that about 800 of the country’s 1,367 airliners have been re-registered and the 567 left roughly equates to the number of shiny 787s, A350s and others that are leased from Western companies, although no breakdown of the numbers was provided.
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