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Wed, Nov 29, 2023

The Repo Man Cripples Russian Civil Fleet

76 Leased Aircraft Held, Repossessed or Detained, Accounting for 40% of Domestic Fleet

Russian Transport Minister Vitaly Savalyev let slip an interesting factoid regarding the effects of western sanctions on his home country, admitting that a considerable portion of the civilian passenger fleet had been repossessed by the owners abroad.

Leasing has become a standard of sorts around the world, with an explosion in lessors catering to the low-cost and ultra-low-cost-carrier markets around the world - Russia no exception. In the immediate aftermath of the Russia-Ukraine war, every economic engine across the west mobilized to hinder, exclude, and hamper Russian interests at home and abroad. Initially, aerospace enthusiasts had expected the civil fleet of Boeing and Airbus aircraft to quickly degrade out of airworthiness without a constant supply of new parts and technical know-how backing them up. That thesis seemed to be proven true, with rumors of Iranian experts lending their own niche wisdom in evading sanctions and recreating rare western equipment making the rounds online.

Oddly enough, the simple act of lessors detaining and repossessing their aircraft cut off as much as 40% of the Russian passenger fleet, or so estimates would say. Savalyev’s slip of the tongue confirmed that 76 aircraft were lost in such a manner throughout 2022, when foreign-owned aircraft operating for Russian airlines were detained in countries throughout their usual networks. He candidly admitted that “we were unexpectedly caught off guard”, perhaps underestimating the depth of domestic market capture in the narrowbody jet scene, or the extent foreign lessors upheld the airline industry as a whole.



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