ICAO: Russian Air Safety Risks Red Flag Listing
Airlines Industry

ICAO: Russian Air Safety Risks Red Flag Listing

DALLAS – The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has concerns that there is a problem with air safety in Russia.

According to a report by news outlet RBC, ICAO’s concerns were voiced in a closed bulletin of the organization on June 15. ICAO’s perception is linked to the fact that Russian airplanes are registered in registries of different countries.

In the communication, ICAO stated that if the problem was not solved by September 14, Russia would be included in the list of countries with officially declared problems with in-flight safety. The list includes such countries as Eritrea and Bhutan.

As per the RBC report, ICAO spokesman Anthony Philbin also stressed that if Russia does not comply with this condition, a “red flag” will appear on the organization’s website with the results of flight safety audits. He explained that “red flags” are not a punishment or a threat, but “are used to inform other countries collectively,” with each state deciding for itself how to use the information.

The organization can recommend that Russia fix its security problems or exclude it from participating countries, which would lead to serious problems with international flights and access to navigation systems.

More than 700 aircraft leases have been unilaterally terminated amid sanctions, according to Rosaviatsiya, the country’s civil aviation authority. There are now more than 600 aircraft in the Russian civil aviation registry. Most of the planes are Airbus and Boeing aircraft.

Bloomberg reported at the start of June that, to get around the sanctions that have prohibited some Russian airlines from leasing aircraft and gaining access to maintenance and repair facilities since the invasion of Ukraine, they were considering setting up Turkish-based carriers.

Aeroflot is Russia’s major carrier. Photo: Brandon Farris/Airways

EU Air Safety List


In a similar manner to the ICAO list, the EU Air Safety List, which is a list of airlines that are subject to an operating ban or operational restrictions within the European Union because they do not fulfill international safety requirements, was revised by the European Commission on November 25, 2021.

The EU Air Safety List not only helps to maintain high levels of safety in the EU but also helps affected airlines and countries improve theirs. In addition, the EU Air Safety List has become a significant preventive tool, as it motivates countries to take early action before a ban becomes necessary.

Following November’s update, 97 airlines are banned from EU skies:

  • 90 airlines certified in 15 states (Afghanistan, Angola (with the exception of 2 airlines), Armenia, Congo (Brazzaville), the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Libya, Nepal, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sierra Leone, and Sudan), are banned due to inadequate safety oversight by the aviation authorities of these states;
  • Seven individual airlines, based on serious safety deficiencies identified: Avior Airlines (Venezuela), Blue Wing Airlines (Suriname), Iran Aseman Airlines (Iran), Iraqi Airways (Iraq), Med-View Airlines (Nigeria), Skol Airline LLC (Russia) and Air Zimbabwe (Zimbabwe).

An additional two airlines are subject to operational restrictions and can only fly to the EU with specific aircraft types: Iran Air (Iran) and Air Koryo (North Korea).

Rossiya VQ-BAS Airbus A319 (Zenith Livery). Photo: Alberto Cucini/airways

US Air Safety List


In the United States, under the International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) program, the FAA determines whether another country’s oversight of its air carriers that operate, or seek to operate, into the U.S., or codeshare with a U.S. air carrier, complies with safety standards established by ICAO. The IASA program is administered by the FAA Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety (AVS), Flight Standards Service (AFS), and International Programs and Policy Division (AFS-50).

The IASA program focuses on a country’s ability, not the ability of individual air carriers, to adhere to international aviation safety standards and recommended practices contained in Annex 1 (Personnel Licensing), Annex 6 (Operation of Aircraft), and Annex 8 (Airworthiness of Aircraft) to the International Convention on Civil Aviation “Chicago Convention” (ICAO Document 7300).

As of April 21, 2022, The following countries do not meet ICAO standards as per the FAA’s IASA program list:

Bangladesh; Curacao; Ghana; Malaysia; Mexico; Organization of Eastern Caribbean States – Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority members: Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, and The Grenadines, St. Kitts and Nevis; Pakistan; Russia; Thailand; and Venezuela.


Feature image: S7 Airlines VP-BPC Airbus A321-211. Photo: Alberto Cucini/Airways

Chief Online Editor
Chief Online Editor at Airways Magazine, AVSEC interpreter and visual artist; grammar geek, an avid fan of aviation, motorcycles, sci-fi literature, and film.

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