August 10, 2022
From Russia to Bermuda: “Deregister Russian Aircraft”
Airlines Industry

From Russia to Bermuda: “Deregister Russian Aircraft”

DALLAS – According to the Russian Federation’s Ministry of Transport, Russian airlines have alerted Bermuda’s aviation authority that all aircraft that were reregistered in Russia must have their registrations revoked.

The majority of aircraft used by Russian airlines were registered in Bermuda and leased from Western lessors before Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Due to a number of factors, including expensive import duties, Russian airlines avoided registering their aircraft domestically.

When western lessors demanded that the aircraft be returned as a result of the sanctions imposed after the invasion, Russian officials decided to reregister the aircraft in their country instead; as result, some aircraft were now registered both in Bermuda and Russia.

To fix the issue, “Russian aviation companies sent Bermuda’s aviation authority a notice regarding the necessity of deregistering the aircraft,” the Russian Ministry of Transport statement says. “In order to avoid breaking Article 18 of Chicago convention by Bermuda’s aviation authority, said authority has to remove the aircraft, that were registered and are being used in the Russian Federation, from its aviation registry.”

The statement added that Russia disagrees with the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) worries about safety issues brought on by the fact that many Russian-owned aircraft have dual registrations.

Article 18 of the Convention on International Civil Aviation (Chicago Convention) states that “An aircraft cannot be validly registered in more than one State, but its registration may be changed from one State to another.” 

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

Airworthiness and Flight Safety, But on Whose Watch?

A month after the invasion of Ukraine commenced, the Bermuda Civil Aviation Authority (BCAA) announced the suspension of its airworthiness certifications for airplanes operated in Russia. The aircraft in question were also banned from the British island territory’s airspace.

In a statement, the BCAA explained that the sanctions against Russia impacted its “ability to sustain safety oversight on Russian operated aircraft on the Bermuda Aircraft Registry.” The organization is, therefore, “unable to confidently approve these aircraft as being airworthy.” Indeed, manufacturers are now unable to provide aircraft parts to Russian operators.

On June 15, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) issued an internal bulletin that said that Russia had to resolve the duplicate registration issue or risk being labeled a nation with flight safety difficulties. Concurrently, Western lessors became wary about registering leased aircraft in Russia because of its unfavorable reputation for airworthiness standards.

However, the Russian Ministry of Transport statement reiterates that “Ensuring flight safety is the highest priority of Russian aviation authorities, but added that “Because Bermuda’s aviation authorities revoked flight certificates for the Russian aircraft, the Russian Federation stopped intergovernmental agreements that relegated Bermuda’s aviation authorities to oversee airworthiness of the aircraft.”

“Transferring the aircraft to the Russian registry gave Russian aviation authority the possibility to oversee the airworthiness of the aircraft and issue flight certificates in accordance with established norms and requirements,” the statement continued.  

Do you think changing leased aircraft registrations from Bermuda’s to Russia’s will calm Russian aviation safety concerns? Be sure to leave your comments on our social media channels.

Featured image: Aeroflot VP-BPG Boeing 777-3M0(ER). Photo: Kochan Kleps/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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