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EASA Revokes Certification Of The Sukhoi SSJ100 & Other Russian Jets

On March 14, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) issued a notice detailing its actions regarding the European Union’s package of restrictive measures against Russia.

The first package covered export bans on aviation goods, technology and technical assistance, whereas the second package focussed on banning Russia’s carriers from EU territory.

EASA suspended several certificates and approvals for design, production and maintenance organizations and existing airworthiness certification for six aircraft types. It has put on hold current applications and said it would not accept any new applications from persons residing in Russia or subject to sanctions.

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According to aeroTELEGRAPH, this suspension will affect the progress of the Irkut MC-21, the turboprop IL-114-300, which is the planned replacement for the Antonov An-2 and the Chinese-Russian joint project CR929.

On March 14, 2022, EASA suspended the airworthiness certification for six aircraft types, including the Superjet 100 (SSJ-100) seen here at Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport. Photo: Getty Images

Six aircraft lose their EASA airworthiness certification

The six aircraft types suspended are the AL30 tethered gas balloon, Beriev Be-103 amphibious seaplane, Tupolev TU204-120 narrowbody, Kaman Ka-32A heavy-lift helicopter, Beriev BE-200ES utility amphibious aircraft and the Irkut Superjet 100. According to ch-aviation.com, there are 119 Superjet 100s currently active and 44 inactive.

Russian state-owned corporation Rostec controls around 700 entities, including aircraft manufacturer United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), parent of aircraft-maker Irkut.

According to Russian news agency TASS, on March 17 Rostec CEO Sergei Chemezov said that expanding the production of civil aircraft must be addressed in a very tight timeframe against the backdrop of limited opportunities for the use of foreign airliners. He added:

“In the current situation, the absolute priority for the Russian industry is the accelerated implementation of import substitution programs for key products, technologies and systems.”

TASS also reported Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Yuri Borisov saying that UAC can increase production of the Il-96 and Tu-214 aircraft if necessary, a view shared by Chemezov.

Ilyushin Il-96 Getty

Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov is talking about increasing production of the Ilyushin Il-96 to beat sanctions. Photo: Getty Images

Tough luck for the lessors

Rather than relying on that, and despite having its hands full with other pressing matters, Russia has found time to seize around 600 aircraft on lease from foreign lessors and re-registering them in Russia.

As well as thwarting lessor repossessions, this has effectively given Russia the domestic fleet it needs to keep operating and a spread of modern aircraft that can be cannibalized for parts to overcome the OEMs parts ban.

Mike Stengel is a senior associate at US consultancy AeroDynamic Advisory. In an opinion piece for Aviation Week he pointed out that while these sanctions will squeeze Russian operators, it will not entirely stop them from flying. He told Simple Flying:

“Bermuda suspended the airworthiness certificates for aircraft under its authority before EASA and it didn’t appear to slow the Russians down, so I expect they will continue using those aircraft domestically to the extent possible.”

Will the Russia-China CR929 partnership survive?

An intriguing aspect of this situation is the Russia-Chinese joint venture CR929, launched in 2017 as a competitor to the A350 and B787. Russia and China see the project as a pathway to aviation independence, with the CR929 oriented to markets in China, Russia and the CIS. Stengel told Simple Flying:

“I think it’s too early to tell what the fate of the CR929 will be and if there will be any changes in partnerships. The crisis needs to play out a little longer to see where all the chips fall and the long-term implications on the marketability of the project.”

As for the lessors, who have effectively seen their aircraft nationalized by Russia, their battles will shift from Russia to their insurers and make sense of the maintenance records if and when they ever get the planes back.


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