NewsWestern sanctions linked to rising flight safety incidents in Russia doubles since 2022

Western sanctions linked to rising flight safety incidents in Russia doubles since 2022

The Ural Airlines plane is still on the field after a breakdown that occurred in 2023.
The Ural Airlines plane is still on the field after a breakdown that occurred in 2023.
Images source: © Getty Images | Andrey Rudakov

2:50 AM EST, February 6, 2024, updated: 4:12 AM EST, March 7, 2024

Statistics from the German database Jacdec show that 74 flight safety-related incidents occurred in Russia last year, while there were only 36 incidents in 2022. Data analyses conducted by the "Wall Street Journal" revealed that the average frequency of these incidents rose from 4.5 per 100,000 flights to 9.9.

The newspaper insinuates that these incidents are caused by the sanctions imposed on the Russian aviation sector. Due to the sanctions, Russian airlines were deprived of access to services, spare parts, and software updates from Western aircraft manufacturers.

Tire blowouts and engine failures

While not all accidents are directly linked to sanctions - for instance, the database mentions a crash involving a plane belonging to the former head of the Wagner Group, Yevgeny Prigozhin - many of them are believed to be a consequence of the restrictions, according to aviation experts quoted by the WSJ.

This includes engine ignition failures during flight, tyre blowouts during landing, and flap failures, which resulted in flight diversions. A notable incident happened in September 2023 when a Ural Airlines Airbus A320 faced a hydraulic system failure mid-flight. Consequently, the plane was forced to perform an emergency landing in a field in southern Russia, where it remains.

"If you don't have access to parts, there's not much you can do," Henry Gourdji, director of the industry organization Flight Safety Foundation, told the newspaper. "The Russians are trying their best, but their efforts are starting to have significant consequences,” he concluded.

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