Russia mulls aircraft-cannibalization scheme as sanctions bite

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A shortage of parts fueled by wide-ranging sanctions has Moscow looking at how to recycle its existing fleet to keep airplanes flying, reported Izvestia Monday.

The national newspaper writes that the Russian transport ministry is looking at rules to regulate how carriers use parts from existing planes to replace worn or broken equipment.

United States and European sanctions on Russia after the invasion of Ukraine cut off a major source of parts and technical assistance for the Russian aviation sector.

The squeeze is starting to yield results: Izvestia writes that Russia’s flag carrier Aeroflot has started dismantling a number of aircraft to recycle their parts for use in other airplanes.

Currently, national regulation doesn’t set out how airlines make use of existing parts to repair their fleets. According to the Russian newspaper, the industry approached the government to ask for rules codifying the practice.

The new regulation could enter into force early next year. It would set out an expiration date for the replacement parts and the necessary tests that would have to be conducted in order to make sure the replacements were safe.

A Russian government study estimates that more than 90 percent of all passengers in Russia fly on aircraft relying on foreign technology and that the national fleet is set to shrink by 2025 as foreign aircraft are gradually decommissioned.