IATA Opposes Bans on Parts Shipments to Russian Airlines

 - March 3, 2022, 10:07 AM
Aeroflot operates some 100 Airbus A320-family narrowbodies. (Photo: Flickr: Creative Commons (BY-SA) by airlines470)

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has voiced opposition to the bans on aircraft parts shipments to Russian airlines, saying that it could compromise air safety. In a response to questions from AIN, IATA addressed the sanctions imposed this week by the European Union and the U.S. that effectively prohibit Airbus and Boeing, among others, from supporting their Russian customers’ fleets.

“IATA does not support bans on the export of commercial aircraft equipment and spare parts because this potentially impacts safety, which is always the top priority,” said the statement.  

Boeing and Airbus this week have each suspended their maintenance support for their Russian customers in compliance with European and U.S. sanctions imposed in reaction to the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

On Monday, Boeing had closed its operations center in the besieged Ukrainian capital Kyiv and paused operations at its Moscow training center, and by Tuesday said it had suspended all “major” operations in Russia. On Wednesday, Airbus followed suit, noting it too had stopped shipping parts and providing support services to its customers in Russia. Several Russian airlines operate Airbus and Boeing aircraft, including flag carrier Aeroflot, which as of January had taken six out of an order for 14 Airbus A350s and operated some 100 A320-family narrowbodies. Aeroflot’s Boeing fleet includes nearly 40 Boeing 737-800s and 22 Boeing 777-300ERs.

After many years of suffering from a reputation for substandard safety standards, Russia’s accident record has improved dramatically in recent years, as the CIS region registered no fatal jet accidents in 2020 and 2021, according to IATA statistics released Wednesday. However, it did suffer four fatal turboprop accidents last year, resulting in 41 deaths. None of the airlines involved appeared on the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) registry, an internationally recognized evaluation system that both the FAA and EASA use in their approval processes for third-party code-share agreements.