Russia evades sanctions with the return of over 300 aircraft

EU threatens Georgia with sanctions if flights to Russia resume

Image of an Aeroflot aircraft. Credit: vaalaa/

Russia has managed to evade sanctions in many areas including in orchestrating the return of its aircraft from abroad.

News website Kommersant said on Friday, December 9 that Russia had managed to return more than 200 planes including Boeings and Airbuses by removing them from the register in Bermuda and re-registering them at home.

A further 150 super jets have returned to Russia and are now able to fly abroad, albeit to a limited range of counties.

The majority of the planes are said to be leased from foreign companies and had been registered in Bermuda given concerns over the transparency and completeness of the procedures for maintaining airworthiness in Russia.

So instead they were registered in Bermuda and Ireland, well known places for registering planes and ships.

Sanctions required these countries to suspend registrations and airworthy certificates making it impossible to fly. But that appear to have been easily overcome by simply changing the place of registration.

BCAA CEO Thomas Dunstan says that there are 520 aircraft that remain on the Bermuda register, many of whom remain on the register as they have been seized by western authorities or are undergoing maintenance abroad.

In total some 721 Russian planes were registered in Bermuda and 36 in Ireland. All the aircraft registered in Ireland remain grounded.

According to international air lines (MVL), transport analyst Elena Sakhnova: “The main internal lines have already been rolled out,” adding that the despite the closure of European destinations, there are tremendous opportunities on MVL, especially on flights to Southeast Asia, the Middle East, China and India.

The change she believes also helps local carriers operating domestic flights with the cost of flights said to fall as capacity increases.

Aeroflot has said that state subsidies will help to support airlines affected by sanctions, as it will be used to keep flight costs down.

The imposition of sanctions often contains loopholes that affected countries can take advantage of, this time Russia evades sanctions returning over 300 aircraft.

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Written by

Peter McLaren-Kennedy

Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at