Russia secretly legalized the cannibalization of foreign aircraft

Russian airlines and enterprises have received the right to engage in cannibalization of aircraft – to remove serviceable spare parts from some liners for their installation on others, Izvestia writes, citing several sources in the aviation industry. Government Decree No. 353 itself was hidden from publication so that it would not cause a public outcry.

According to two sources familiar with the document, permits must be issued for cannibalized parts – airworthiness coupons, passports or labels. Removal of components from the aircraft requires a performance analysis and condition assessment, and installation requires testing and reassessment of the condition.

The decree also allows the installation of non-original foreign components on foreign aircraft in Russia (Boeing, Airbus, Embraer), which are not provided for by the operational documentation of the developers. We are talking about parts that can only be manufactured by companies that have received the approval of six foreign aviation administrations and according to procedures that are established in American law.

“If this is not done very well, then foreign counterfeit goods will begin to come to us,” warns the founder of the RunAvia flight safety service. Andrey Patrakov. There are also risks of dishonest work by the airlines themselves, which in 2022 certified “pocket” aircraft developers and can put pressure on them in assessing flight safety, the expert says.

In 2022, airlines were still using reserve parts that were approved by US or EU authorities, another source explains. “Now these stocks are apparently running out, and it has become necessary to use components of Chinese, Iranian production,” he says.

In Russia, parts have been moved from aircraft to aircraft before, including the use of non-original components, says a source in an engineering company. “It’s just that before the business was guided in this matter by the procedures of foreign aviation regulators, since most of the fleet was registered abroad, and now we have our own rules,” he said.

The airlines do not yet understand how to comply with the provisions of the decree, if it is of a hidden nature. So far, no one has sent the document to the airlines, a representative of one of the air carriers said. Another interlocutor noted that the Federal Air Transport Agency is thinking about how to convey this information. According to him, it was decided to hide the adopted norms from the public, since the topic of cannibalization of aircraft may seem resonant to a wide range of people.

At the end of February 2022, the EU banned the export to Russia of goods and technologies used in the aviation and space sectors, and also banned insurance and maintenance of goods related to these industries.

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