'We survive as best we can': the pilot spoke about the deplorable state of Russian civil aviation

Aeroflot pilot, captain of the A-320 liner Andrey Litvinov spoke about the state of civil aviation in Russia and about its prospects, reports “Present Time”.

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Russian airlines may suspend flights on Russian regional Sukhoi Superjet liners due to a shortage of engine spark plugs. They are missing because the engines on the Superjet were not Russian, but Russian-French, and the spark plugs for them were produced by a company from the United States. You need to change the candles every thousand takeoffs.

The largest Superjet operator, Rossiya Airlines, which has 76 such aircraft, has faced a shortage of components. After Russia's invasion of Ukraine, foreign companies refused to supply Russia with new imported Airbuses and Boeings. According to Vladimir Putin's decision, the planes belonging to Western lessors were not returned to them by Russian airlines. It was about 595 aircraft. Sukhoi Superjet in these conditions remained a machine on which Russian airlines could continue to fly abroad.

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Sukhoi Superjet is assembled in Russia. But 70% of Superjet parts are imported parts.

“Here, Rostec declares: “By 2025, we will come to the point that our aircraft will consist of 97% of our spare parts. And 3%? You can't be a little pregnant: 97% pregnant. That's why I became such a pessimist. It is said that a pessimist is a well-informed optimist, says Andrey Litvinov, an Aeroflot pilot. - You already listen to these officials, they juggle with these numbers, dates, times, Wishlist, slogans, and you just get tired of this information. Therefore, when our plane is 100%, it will be certified and will fly, then it will be possible to applaud. In the meantime, the situation is deplorable, and for civil aviation it is all very bad.”

In addition, the Turkish Ministry of Customs and Trade banned the maintenance and refueling of almost 40 aircraft from Russia and Belarus. The decision was made in accordance with the US Department of Commerce's Export Practices Letter from the Office of Industry and Security.

“We survive as best we can”

Russian air carriers have to deal with problems as they come. Never before in the history of civil aviation has any country faced such sanctions as Russia has. Only Iran has been under sanctions for over 40 years, but Iran has an old air base.

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“In Iran, there were other technologies, somehow they got out and get out. But we have other planes. Agree, 40 years ago these were completely different aircraft than modern ones. They are stuffed with electronics, modern technologies. Therefore, naturally, all airlines that operate Boeings and Airbuses face problems in the supply of spare parts, Litvinov says. “We survive as best we can.”

Rearrangement of spare parts

Due to the sanctions that were imposed on Russia, the supply of components and spare parts for aircraft to the country stopped. Aeroflot has more than 40% of flights - these were flights abroad. Now there is no opportunity to fly there, and many planes have become free. Extra planes have appeared, from which you can remove some kind of spare part and put it on another plane. But this cannot continue indefinitely, as Litvinov says. It all depends on how long the plane will fly, how often, what will be the load on it. The more it is used, the greater will be the need for consumables.

“Let’s say even a new plane that is taking off gets hit by a bird, glass breaks, a stone hits the engine, a blade gets bent. It's the same technique. And in any case, you always need some kind of spare parts, I'm not talking about consumables, but some serious ones: electronic components that you need to get one and insert the other, - says Litvinov. “Therefore, all this is feverish for civil aviation and does not allow them to work calmly under the conditions of these sanctions.”

Russia worked out options for circumventing sanctions, and even turned to its partners: Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and others. But the fact is that all airlines, even those that are ready to help Russia, operate the same Boeings and Airbuses. And companies that can and want to supply spare parts for Russian aircraft will be sanctioned if they do so. Litvinov stressed that no one wants to expose their civil aviation.

Spare parts are handled by General Electric, where they require you to specify the end user when selling your spare parts. If a company does not indicate or indicates a Russian consumer, then it automatically falls under secondary sanctions.

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“The same China, for example. He also produces the same C919 akin to Airbus. But there are parts that are produced in America and Europe. And they were threatened that if they helped Russian airlines, they themselves could fall under sanctions, says Litvinov. “The message is: “We are happy to help you, but, sorry, we ourselves do not want to experience difficulties with spare parts.”

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