Russian planes starved of spare parts are running into safety incidents twice as often as they were before the war

  • Flight safety incidents in Russia have more than doubled since the Ukraine war began.

  • The Jet Airliner Crash Data Evaluation Centre says there were 81 cases in 2023, up from 37 in 2022.

  • Crippling sanctions have made it difficult for airlines to buy parts to maintain their aircraft.

Russian flight safety incidents have more than doubled in the past year as airlines struggle to maintain their aircraft amid crippling economic sanctions.

According to the Jet Airliner Crash Data Evaluation Centre (JACDEC), there were 81 safety incidents in Russia last year, as compared to 37 cases in 2022.

"These numbers only reflect cases that became public. There is still a dark figure of unreported incidents," JACDEC founder and CEO Jan-Arwed Richter told The Telegraph in a story published Monday.

Russia has been grappling with the West's economic sanctions ever since it invaded Ukraine in February 2022. The sanctions have also made it difficult for the country's airlines to procure new planes or parts to maintain their aircraft.

Aviation analyst Andrei Menshenin told The Telegraph that the sanctions affect "almost all types of aircraft used in Russian commercial aviation."

The shortage in parts has seen Russia turning to unorthodox methods to keep their planes up in the air. The country received over $14 million of US-made aircraft parts via the black market in 2022.

Besides smuggling, Russia has created a "Frankenstein fleet" by cannibalizing spare parts from jets that have been grounded.

But such methods are not without their own risks.

In August, two Boeing 777s operated by the Russian airline Red Wings weren't able to take off in Turkey due to technical issues. The delays left hundreds of Russian tourists stranded there for at least two days.

Then, in the following month, a Ural Airlines Airbus A320 passenger plane had to make an emergency landing in an open Siberian field when its hydraulic systems failed.

Representatives for Russia's Federal Air Transport Agency did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider sent outside regular business hours.

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