Russian aviation engulfed by a record series of accidents after Western sanctions

At the beginning of 2023, a series of accidents continued in the Russian aviation industry. In just over a week, there have been at least seven incidents involving aircraft.

First, on January 5, the flight of Utair was forced to land due to a malfunction of the air conditioning system. He was flying from Tyumen to Novy Urengoy.

The next day, there were two more accidents. First, an Azur Air plane flying from Novosibirsk to Thailand was forced to return to the airport due to windshield damage. The plane took off at 1:00 am and returned only at 7:00 am. There were 263 people on it.

Later that day, a Red Wings passenger plane flying from Kazan to Yekaterinburg returned to the airport after take-off due to unretracted landing gear. There were 87 passengers and 5 crew members on board.

The series of incidents continued on 8 January. At the airport of Perm, the plane of the airline “Victory” took out from the runway. During the start of the takeoff run for a flight to Moscow, the ship veered to the left from the runway straight into the snow. The crew decided to abort the takeoff. The plane partially rolled out of the airstrip. Passengers were not injured, the ship was also not damaged, the Perm airport reported.

And on January 9, the four-year-old Airbus A320neo of S7 Airlines failed to fly from Bratsk to Moscow. He made an emergency landing in Kazan after four hours of flight due to a malfunction of the toilet system.

Two incidents also occurred with domestic aircraft, and in one of them the aircraft crashed to the ground. We are talking about the passenger aircraft An-2, following the route Naryan-Mar – Karatayka – Varandey – Naryan-Mar. On board were ten passengers and two crew members. On January 9, the plane crashed in the Nenets Autonomous Okrug (NAO) due to icing. Two people were killed and four others were injured.

The second domestic vessel, the An-26 IrAero passenger aircraft, flew from Yakutsk to Magadan. Right during the flight, the hatch in the cargo compartment partially opened, as a result of which depressurization occurred at an altitude of several kilometers. The plane returned to the airport of departure. None of the 31 people on board, including the crew, were injured. However, part of the baggage flew out of the plane.

In 2022, more than 130 accidents involving civil and military aviation occurred in Russia, according to Novye Izvestia. During the year, 28 ships were wrecked.

“The expert community, to put it mildly, expressed its concern back in February-March. And when the Minister of Transport told us that the Iranian scenario was waiting for us in terms of resisting sanctions, he did not mention the sad statistics. And it began in Iran with an increased number of incidents and then turned into a series of disasters,” Andrey Patrakov, founder of the international network of AIM Group experts, told the publication.

After the start of the war in Ukraine, the United States, Great Britain and the European Union imposed sanctions against the Russian aviation industry: they closed the sky for Russian aircraft, blacklisted the largest airlines and their leaders. In March, manufacturers Boeing and Airbus stopped deliveries of spare parts, maintenance and support for Russian airlines.

After that, airlines began to dismantle some of the aircraft for parts in order to service the other part of the fleet.

In October, Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury expressed concern about the quality of aircraft maintenance in Russia. Sanctions do not allow Russian airlines to maintain aircraft maintenance at the required level, he said. In mid-September, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) also pointed to the insecurity of flights in Russia.


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