Russia Slowly Increases Western Aircraft Parts Production

By Spyros Georgilidakis | June 11, 2024

Airlines in Russia hope for some relief, as the country’s authorities approve the production of copied aircraft parts by local companies.

Western sanctions after Russia’s renewed attack on Ukraine in 2022 meant that the country’s airlines couldn’t get new aircraft or source parts for Western jets already in Russia. Maintenance for these aircraft was another problem, as Aeroflot and other carriers depended on foreign companies before the sanctions.

Russia Slowly Increases Western Aircraft Parts Production
Photo: Mike1979 Russia, CC BY-SA 3.0

As we have seen, Russia’s aviation authority has been issuing its own approvals for local aircraft part production, without input from Airbus or Boeing. There are also reports of airlines in Russia sourcing aircraft parts of unknown origin, from third parties.

Most efforts to find aircraft parts revolve around the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 families. In total, there are reportedly 204 737s and 265 A320-family aircraft in operation in Russia, as of the end of last year. More aircraft are in storage.

Russia Slowly Increases Western Aircraft Parts Production
A stored Pobeda 737-800. Note it still wears its legal registration (VP-BQZ), not the new one (RA-73224) since it hasn’t flown since February 2022. Photo: Sijokun, CC BY-SA 4.0

According to Aviation Week, two companies in Russia announced new programs for domestically-produced aircraft parts. One of them is Protektor Group, a Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) company.

Finding Companies in Russia to Make Aircraft Parts

Protektor will produce parts for A320s and 737s at a new site near Moscow Domodedovo Airport (UUDD). Before this move, the company was already overhauling aircraft parts in Russia, including 737 landing gear systems.

An S7 Airbus A320neo. Photo: N509FZ, CC BY-SA 4.0

The other project involves S7 Technics, a subsidiary of S7 Group, owner of S7 (Siberian) Airlines. Before 2022, the company had approvals under EASA to produce various aircraft parts, mostly for the passenger cabin. After the sanctions, Russia’s aviation regulator authorized S7 Technics to continue making these and other parts.

Separately, airlines in Russia have also struggled to source parts for the Sukhoi SuperJet (SSJ100) – theoretically a domestic aircraft. However, the engines and most other systems of the aircraft are made elsewhere.

A Sukhoi SuperJet. Photo: Alf van Beem

Even servicing many of these parts was something Russian companies have struggled with. The situation is improving, but out of 213 SuperJets built, only 168 remain in use today. As of last November, Russian companies could repair only 178 out of 903 imported SuperJet parts.

Protektor and S7 Technics also make structural and other parts for aircraft designed in Russia, like the Tupolev Tu-214. This is an aircraft whose production didn’t depend on Western parts and was therefore believed to be an interim solution to Russia’s aircraft shortage. However, there have been few if any Tu-214s built since the sanctions began.


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