1. Adapting to the sanctions
The measures to weaken the Russian airline have taken a toll, with the number of international passengers Aeroflot carried in March down by half from a year earlier, to 189,000. Since the beginning of the war, Aeroflot has restarted services to 13 countries, still down from the 56 before the military conflict. The latest destination was the Maldives.
Aeroflot was built up to a global standard but will be a shadow of itself, able to fly only to those parts of the world willing to do business with Russia. This is a mirror for the Russian economy as a whole, now cut off from the Western-led economic system.Christopher Granville, London-based consultancy TS Lombard told Bloomberg
2. Airbus and Boeing
The vast majority of Aeroflot’s more than 350 planes are Airbus or Boeing models, and it is currently facing a looming parts deficit. Following the imposition of sanctions, foreign leasing companies have demanded that these planes be returned to them. Aviation data specialists IBA estimate Russian airlines have supplies to last three months until they start deconstructing existing aircraft for parts.
Airbus and Boeing aren’t allowed to supply spare parts, which obliges Moscow to seek for replacement parts from existing aircraft or ask a third party to manufacture it.
Recently Russia sought assistance from Iran for aircraft repair and maintenance. Speaking on March 22 at a meeting of the economic policy committee in the upper house of the Russian parliament, Transport Minister Vitaly Savelyev said: “Russia was being guided by Iran’s experience of how to service aircraft in a similar situation.” When dealing with sanctions, the Iranian Airlines found it impossible to buy new aircraft or spare parts. As a result, they grounded and cannibalised half of their planes for spare parts to keep others in the air.
3. Rescue Aeroflot
The Interfax news agency recently reported that Russia is planning to spend 107 billion roubles (about €1.35 billion) from the National Wealth Fund (NWF) to recapitalise Aeroflot, in an attempt to moderate the damage of the sanctions imposed by the west after the invasion of Ukraine.
“Aeroflot will be to a very large extent a domestic airline for the foreseeable future,” said Arnold Barnett, an air safety expert at the MIT Sloan School of Management.