The number of flights between Russia and China may be reduced by 70% due to the risk of aircraft being stopped

According to the Ministry of Transport, air travel between Russia and China may fall by 60-70% in 2023 compared to 2019. This follows from the letter of the deputy head of the department, Valentin Ivanov, to the head of the Russian Resistance, Alexander Kalinin, writes RBC.

Beijing denies Moscow guarantees that it will not arrest ships at the request of third countries under Western sanctions, the Ministry of Transport explains.

China was one of the ten most popular destinations for Russian airlines even when they opened flights to Europe. Now that Western countries have closed their airspace to Russian aircraft, flights to China may also be drastically reduced.

In 2019, domestic airlines carried around 3 million people on routes between China and Russia. In 2023, their number may fall to 0.9-1.2 million, according to Deputy Transport Minister Valentin Ivanov in the letter.

After the start of the war in Ukraine, the European Union imposed sanctions on the sale and leasing of aircraft to Russia and spare parts for them. The lessors then demanded the return of the aircraft, and Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree allowing hundreds of aircraft worth about $10 billion to remain in Russian ownership.

However, airlines cannot ship these planes on most foreign flights due to the risk of arrest. Last year, 78 aircraft were arrested abroad as part of the sanctions.

In addition to the fact that China does not give Russia guarantees, it also prohibits dual-registration aircraft from entering its airspace.Ivanov added. For this reason, about half of the planes at the disposal of Russian airlines cannot fly to China, Vladimir Tasun, the president of the Association of Air Transport Operators (AET), complained to the Minister of Transport, Vitaly Saveliyev. According to him, we are talking about more than 480 aircraft that are registered in Bermuda and Ireland and have not been returned to their owners after the imposition of sanctions. These liners were forcibly registered in Russia, so they have double registration.

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