Russia Paid $2 Bln To Buyout of 92 Previously Seized Jets

In a move aimed at shoring up its crippled aviation industry, Russia has announced the successful buyout of 92 foreign-owned planes. This landmark deal comes amidst crippling Western sanctions imposed over the Ukraine war, which have severely impacted access to essential aircraft parts and leasing agreements.


The aircraft, previously owned by a mix of foreign leasing companies, airlines, and major player AerCap, have been secured using funds from Russia's National Welfare Fund, with a hefty $2.06 billion (190 billion Roubles) allocated for the purpose. Ownership will now be transferred to state-owned NLK-Finance, which will subsequently distribute the planes amongst various domestic airlines. This news signals a significant step in Russia's efforts to mitigate the fallout of sanctions on its aviation sector. Following the initial wave of restrictions in February 2022, Western-operated planes were grounded, leaving airlines crippled and international routes inaccessible. In response, Russia implemented a controversial measure of re-registering foreign-owned aircraft within its own system, drawing strong condemnation from leasing companies and international authorities.


With the buyouts now finalized, Russian airlines, including S7 with 45 planes, Aeroflot with 28, and Ural Airlines with 19, regain the ability to operate internationally without the constant threat of aircraft seizure. This could potentially restore some normalcy to travel routes and offer an economic lifeline to airlines struggling to stay afloat. However, the long-term implications of this move remain uncertain. Industry experts point out that securing new parts and maintenance for these planes could still prove challenging, as many manufacturers have severed ties with Russia. Additionally, the financial burden of such a large buyout raises concerns about the sustainability of this approach and its potential impact on other sectors of the economy.

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The buyouts also present geopolitical ramifications. This move demonstrates Russia's determination to circumvent sanctions and maintain its air travel connectivity. It further underscores the deepening divide between Russia and the West, raising questions about the potential for further escalation in the ongoing conflict. Ultimately, the success of this strategy will depend on a complex interplay of factors, including the effectiveness of Western sanctions, Russia's ability to maintain and service the acquired aircraft, and the overall state of the global aviation industry. While the immediate future of Russian aviation appears less precarious, the long-term path remains shrouded in uncertainty as the geopolitical landscape continues to evolve.

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