Espreso. Global

Record number of aviation incidents recorded in Russia in 2023

21 September, 2023 Thursday

The Novaya Gazeta Europe publication reports.

The publication notes that data from open sources show that from January to August 2023, more than 120 air accidents involving civilian aircraft operated by Russian airlines occurred in Russia. This is 2.2 times more than usual: over the previous five years, from 2018 to 2022, an average of 55 incidents were recorded by the end of summer. In terms of the number of breakdowns, 2023 has already overtaken all the previous years.

The most vulnerable parts were the engine (30% of cases) and the chassis (25% of cases), problems with brakes, flaps, air conditioning, and cracks in the windshield are also common (3-6% of cases for each of the problems).

At the same time, the increase in the number of aircraft breakdowns is occurring amid a decline in air traffic since the start of the war: that is, there are fewer flights and many more accidents.

According to journalists who cite closed statistics from Rosaviatsiya, airline passenger traffic in 2022 was 86% of 2021 (and 75% of pre-pandemic 2019).

Problems in Russian aviation were evident long before the invasion of Ukraine and the imposition of sanctions. Over the past twenty-three years, Russia has been ranked first in the world in terms of the number of deaths caused by airplane accidents. And by a wide margin from the other leaders of this list: at least 1712 people have died in airplane crashes in Russia since 2000, while the United States is second with 1349 deaths.

Given the volume of air traffic, the gap between Russia and the United States is growing dramatically. For example, the ratio of deaths to passengers in Russia is 18 times higher than in the United States.

Sanctions for the Russian aviation industry 

In 2022, very tough sanctions were imposed on the aviation industry in Russia: most world countries closed their skies to them, and lessors, mainly from Ireland and Bermuda, demanded that all aircraft be returned to their owners. These aircraft were also stripped of their flight safety certificates. Russia is trying to circumvent the restrictions and is actually starting to pirate the aircraft. They are also hastily re-registering them in their registry. However, this does not eliminate the impact of sanctions. So, at the moment, Russian airlines can only fly domestically and to a few "friendly" countries, and then only as long as the aircraft are in good technical condition, since foreign companies will not supply them with repairs or spare parts. Leading aircraft manufacturers have also joined the sanctions.

On September 14, the ICAO gave Russia a "red flag" indicating serious problems in the field of civil aviation safety.

On October 1, Russia was not re-elected as a member of the governing council of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) at the UN, and on October 4, it was finally expelled from the governing bodies of this most authoritative structure in the industry.

Since the end of 2022, incidents with passenger aircraft have become more frequent in Russia. Sanctions led to numerous breakdowns and accidents.

In the fall of 2023, Russia will be disconnected from the Swiss SITA system, which accounts for about 90% of the civil aviation market and is used to exchange information, including between airlines and airports.

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