Western-made aircraft in the fleets of Russian airlines will “fly safely” until 2030, provided that work is kept up to maintain their airworthiness, Alexander Neradko, the head of Russia’s civil aviation regulator (Rosaviatsiya), has told the country’s RBK TV in an interview. And the term “cannibalisation” should be abandoned, he added, as there is nothing unusual in transferring spare parts between aircraft.

According to Neradko, the ban on the supply of spare parts and technology and the provision of maintenance guidance from companies in countries that imposed sanctions against the Russian aviation industry after the “special military operation” started in Ukraine have not affected flight safety in the country.

On business trips, he uses only air transport and almost always flies on scheduled airline or commercial helicopter routes, he claimed.

“I have confidence that it has not become more dangerous to fly. And this has nothing to do with the presence or absence of original spare parts,” the official said.

The media should avoid the term “cannibalisation”, he urged. The word “appeared at the suggestion of those who have never worked in civil aviation and do not know that the rearrangement of serviceable spare parts from aircraft to aircraft was practiced always and everywhere, including in the days of the Soviet Union,” he explained.

The chief executives of state-owned carriers Aeroflot (SU, Moscow Sheremetyevo) and the Far Eastern carrier Aurora (HZ, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk), Sergey Alexandrovsky and Konstantin Sukhorebrik, told RBK that they agreed with Neradko’s comments. Aeroflot, which according to its own data has one of the youngest fleets in the world, will be able to keep its Airbus and Boeing aircraft in the skies even after 2030, Alexandrovsky declared.

As ch-aviation reported at the time, Sukhorebrik told the television channel in December that Aurora had already secured spare parts for its fleet of A319-100s and planned to operate them for another ten years, with sanctions having no impact on this timeline.

“We have practically no concerns about the A319. The supply of spare parts has been arranged, but I will not disclose details on this topic,” he said. “If the situation doesn’t worsen and we find ways to maintain them, our A319s will fly without problems for another ten years. And then these planes will simply grow old.”

Out of a total fleet of 21 aircraft, Aurora operates eight A319s, which are currently 17.1 years old on average, the ch-aviation fleets module shows.