China Closes Airspace to Russian Airbus, Boeing Aircraft

China Closes Airspace to Russian Airbus, Boeing Aircraft

DALLAS – China is prohibiting Russian Boeing and Airbus aircraft owned by foreign leasing companies from flying through its territory.

According to the Russian news outlet RBK (RBC Group), the ban affects equipment whose legal status has not been confirmed following Western sanctions as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and their re-registration in Russia.

According to the report, China has requested proof that the aircraft in question are no longer registered outside of Russia. The sanctions imposed by the West in response to the Russian invasion on February 24 provide context.

Because of the military assault authorized by the Kremlin, the EU and the US have banned the supply, maintenance, and insurance of civilian aircraft and spare parts to Russia.

Western leasing companies that have terminated their Russian contractors own a large portion of Russia’s air fleet. Moscow, for its part, has refused to return the planes and has re-registered them without delay. In addition, Russian aviation rules were rewritten in March and May, removing various safety regulations related to maintenance and certification.

S7 Airlines A320-214 VQ-BRC. Photo: Kochan Kleps/Airways

Dealing with Foreign, Domestic Flight Bans

In May, Chinese aviation authorities asked all airlines, not only Russian ones, to update their electronic dossiers or portfolios that contain information about aircraft, owners of airlines, and ground handling contracts. Requesting such portfolios is a standard procedure. As per RBK, the procedure has recently been amended in China.

According to RBK, Russian airlines have been unable to produce such documents. This is why the Chinese aviation authorities, observing international air law, have denied the flights of such planes.

Adding the sanctions hurting non-Russian-made aircraft maintenance and components, and the country’s extension of the flight ban at 11 domestic airports, Russian airlines are to face an uphill battle to keep their planes in the air.

Featured image: Aeroflot A330-300 aircraft. Photo: Davide Calabresi/Airways

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