MOSCOW, March 22. /TASS/. Almost 800 of the more than 1,300 planes have already been transferred to Russia’s aeronautical register, Transport Minister Vitaly Savelyev said on Tuesday.
He was speaking at a meeting of the Committee on Economic Policy under the Federation Council, the upper house of the Russian parliament.
"We have transferred (to the Russian register - TASS) almost 800 aircraft. We insure them through a Russian insurance company," Savelyev noted.
The minister added that at the time of the sanctions had come into effect, Russia had 1,367 aircraft. He added that 78 aircraft were arrested in foreign countries and would not return to Russia.
"We "lost" 78 aircraft," he stated.
The minister stressed that Russia with its area of 17 mln square kilometers should not be left without an air fleet.
"We are looking for legal ways to negotiate with lessors and resolve this issue, but so far we have not managed to do this," Savelyev noted.
The minister said that the foreign lessors refuse to negotiate on compensation for aircraft used by Russian airlines or the buyout of these planes.
"But we are not losing hope, and we are not handing anything back either. To do so would mean to leave ourselves without air fleet," he said.
Russia’s aviation situation
According to Savelyev, the aviation situation is now difficult, but it has stabilized.
"Now, for overseas flights we only use those planes that are Russian or were registered as Russian before. These are 193 airliners. They fly to those countries that are ready to receive and serve them, because not every country will fill it up with kerosene on the way back," the minister explained.
He added that these 193 airliners include 148 Sukhoi Superjets, 44 Boeing and Airbus aircraft and one Tu-204 in civilian circulation.
The Russian aviation authorities are also looking for a solution to deal with the ban on the supply of spare parts and maintenance of foreign aircraft. According to Savelyev, Russia is studying the case of Iran, which, having been under sanctions since 1995, has retained 15 airlines.
The minister added that 32 airlines from 22 countries continue to fly to Russia, in particular, Arab airlines fly without any restrictions.
Savelyev noted that the airlines of Armenia, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan are facing external pressure when trying to restore flights to Russia.
"Not everyone is allowed to visit us because of the restrictions that were imposed, including Bermuda, where 80% of the world's aircraft are registered," he explained.
Due to the events in Ukraine, on February 26, the EU Council banned the sale and supply, including leasing, of aircraft and spare parts for them for Russian airlines, as well as the provision of any insurance or reinsurance services for these aircraft and their repair. After that, Russian airlines began to face attempts of arrest of their aircraft on international flights, even on export flights.