Russian airlines purchased $1.2 billion worth of spare parts from May last year to June this year despite the sanctions imposed on Russia, Reuters found out.
Various equipment was purchased – both the parts necessary to maintain the aircraft in flight condition (devices of the American company Northrop Grumman, cockpit pressure valves, landing gear), and simple spare parts (coffee makers, flight attendant handsets and toilet seats).
According to customs documents, spare parts came to Russia through intermediary companies in Tajikistan, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, China and Kyrgyzstan.
The agency cites Ural Airlines as an example. It has purchased more than 20 pieces of American equipment since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. So, on November 14 last year, according to journalists, the Ural Airlines plane landed in Yekaterinburg and remained on the runway, and three days later they brought the most important spare part for navigation systems from the American company Northrop Grumman. On November 24, this aircraft flew to Moscow and since then, according to flight tracking data, has been carrying passengers.
The $1.2 billion figure reflects the total cost of supplies destined for Russian airlines or their maintenance units. The journalists did not take into account deliveries of aircraft parts for other airlines.
Northrop Grumman said it did not identify any sales or repair services that were provided to Russian companies. The company said they have “strong processes and procedures in place to help ensure compliance with all laws and regulations related to exports and sanctions.”
Reuters also found that Russian companies that used to rely on large suppliers for services before the sanctions began to use the services of smaller companies. So, in April 2022, S7 Airlines began importing parts from the Moldovan company Air Rock Solutions. Over the next 14 months, S7 received at least $1.23 million worth of parts from Air Rock Solutions, according to reports.
The executive director of the company, Ivan Melnikov, denies selling products to Russia. He stated that most of his buyers were in the UAE and Kyrgyzstan, among others. Reuters found out that most of the goods from this company did get to Russia through other countries. When asked if this could indicate that his clients in those countries had diverted supplies to Russian airlines, the Moldovan businessman did not answer.