Planes come first: who guarantees the safety of air travel today?

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Planes come first: who guarantees the safety of air travel today?
Planes come first: who guarantees the safety of air travel today?
19 August, 13:27Technology
Sanctioned Russian airlines began to dismantle the aircraft in order to maintain other aircraft in working order with the help of spare parts. The US administration believes that due to sanctions, Russia will stop operating up to half of the aircraft by 2025. What is actually happening in Russian aviation?

Irina Mishina

According to Reuters, one Sukhoi Superjet 100 and Airbus A350 aircraft from Aeroflot's fleet is currently being dismantled. At the same time, according to the source, the Airbus A350 is “almost new”. The sources also reported that equipment was removed from several Aeroflot Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 aircraft. The carrier intends to use it for the remaining aircraft of these models.

Will the dismantling of aircraft be legalized?

At the same time, it became known that Russian airlines applied to the Ministry of Transport with a request to allow them to legally rearrange components from one aircraft to another in order to maintain the fleet in good condition under the sanctions. This is stated in a letter from the President of the Association of Air Transport Operators (AEVT) Vladimir Tasun to Deputy Minister of Transport Igor Chalik. We turned to the Association of Air Transport Operators for a comment, but they answered: “AEVT does not give comments to anyone”.

In the meantime, as it became known, it is proposed to legalize the "dismemberment" of serviceable aircraft through the adjustment of the March government decree No. 353 "On the features of licensing activities in the Russian Federation in 2022." At the same time, AEVT proposes to allow the rearrangement of components even between aircraft of different airlines. How will all this affect the safety of air travel?

“The Reuters report, citing anonymous sources, refers to the dismantling of one or two aircraft. Aircraft spare parts are known to be unique. If there were not enough of them, for example, for 80 aircraft, all 80 would be dismantled. But this is not the point. I want to say that now part of the fleet in Russia, up to 17%, is generally idle due to the cancellation of foreign routes. But Aeroflot began to fly more intensively within the country. It is impossible to fly across vast Russia, dismantling only 2 aircraft. And let's turn to world practice. In the ports of Lufthansa and Air France, there is not one donor aircraft, but many more. But in Western countries, removing spare parts from an aircraft is a common practice, it is allowed by law, and in our case, the transport prosecutor's office can issue a fine. So let's bring the rules for the operation of aircraft to global standards. Let me emphasize: disassembling aircraft into separate parts is a common practice. In the end, spare parts have a calendar life, and in order for the plane to fly, these spare parts need to be changed periodically, ” the editor-in-chief of the Avia.ru portal told NI. Ru" Roman Gusarov.

Airshop parts

It is clear that it is impossible to solve the problem of maintaining aircraft in a trouble-free condition by disassembling for spare parts alone. As it became known, the Ministry of Industry and Trade is already considering the possibility of manufacturing parts for Boeing and Airbus in Russia. The authorities asked Russian air carriers and service companies to provide data on the list and volumes of spare parts for foreign aircraft in order to continue their operation in Russia. On April 14, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Oleg Bocharov sent a letter with such a request to Deputy Minister of Transport Igor Chalik. But to establish the production of spare parts for aircraft is not a quick process. So there are options.

“If there had not been an update of spare parts, the fleet would have stood up 2 months ago. But planes fly. And there were no cases of aircraft malfunctions. Spare parts, as far as I know, are supplied to the Russian aircraft fleet. Which way? This is a trade secret. There have never been government procurements for aircraft parts, which means they come from third countries, not directly. So at this stage there is no reason to talk about the emergency state of the aircraft. All aircraft in Russia are normally serviced, their condition is monitored. Our country is a member of the international civil aviation organization ICAO, it enjoys authority there. In addition, our domestic aviation has centuries-old traditions. We know how to fly safely”, - the editor-in-chief of Avia.ru told NI. Ru" Roman Gusarov.

“There are airshops in the world. Spare parts are purchased from many aviation centers around the world. They are produced not only in the USA and Europe, but also in Asian countries - in Malaysia, China, India. If you order spare parts from Boeing, they are obliged to deliver them to anywhere in the world within a day. But you can order the same spare part in an airshop in China or India, for example. Yes, they will not bring it within a day and it may have a different service life. But the price will also be lower. By the way, China produces spare parts for aircraft under the license of Boeing. In general, the production of aircraft today is a complex process in which many countries participate. For example, 64 countries are involved in the production of the Boeing 787”, - Alexey Kochemasov, pilot of the Pobeda airline, explained to NI.

"We fly like before"

By the way, Russia is considered the main supplier of raw materials for the production of aircraft. These are aviation titanium and aluminum. It is from these materials that parts for American and European aircraft are made in Russia. In the event that cooperation in this area ceases, production will be reoriented to the needs of the domestic aircraft industry. In this case, Boeing and Airbus will face the prospect of failure in the production of key parts. As a result, Boeing and Airbus airliners will increase in price and most likely become unprofitable.

In order to understand how Russia is integrated into the production of airliners, it is enough to know just one fact. NPO "Saturn" manufactures components and repairs of the most popular aircraft engine in the world CFM-56. Boeing 737 and Airbus 320 are equipped with these engines. It is difficult to imagine the future of these airlines if Russian factories refuse to supply aircraft engines.

Of course, the main material for the production of aircraft today - Russian titanium - can be replaced, but this will lead to additional costs from 80 to 100 billion euros. It is unlikely that foreign manufacturers will go to such costs. Experts on both sides of the ocean agree that the sanctions of politicians did not play into the hands of the aviation industry. Manufacturers generally generally prefer not to notice these sanctions, experts say.

“Assembling an airplane today is not a problem”, - says Alexei Kochemasov, pilot of the Pobeda airline. – But due to the fact that this is a multinational process, it is very difficult to establish links between manufacturers and subcontractors. Now, for example, the Sukhoi company cannot put an aircraft into production, because they cannot find a manufacturer of seat upholstery. What do you want? There are no curtains for the windows - the plane will not fly.

It is difficult to make predictions about the future of aviation now: the sanctions have brought the industry into a state of turbulence. Aviation expert Roman Gusarov believes that only one thing can be assumed: “Air tickets will rise in price along with an increase in the cost of flights. This will also be affected by rising fuel prices and inflation. However, everything will depend on the season: in summer and closer to the holidays, air tickets, as usual, will skyrocket in price, and in autumn and winter they will become cheaper”.

But the main thing is, of course, flight safety. Pilot Aleksey Kochemasov is sure: “Nothing has changed here. The criteria are the same, the safety requirements are high. We fly like we used to".

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