Russia is considering banning Russian airlines from registering their Western-built aircraft abroad, in a move that would put all Russian-operated aircraft onto the national register, reports Russian Aviation Insider. Mikhail Bulanov, deputy head of the Federal Air Transport Agency (Rosaviatsia), made the announcement at the recent Aircraft Finance and Leasing Conference in Moscow.

Russian airlines often elect to register their non-Russian aircraft abroad in order to avoid hefty import taxes. Currently, of the 743 Western-built aircraft operating in Russia, 582 (78%) are registered in Bermuda and 26 (3.5%) are registered in Ireland.

Bulanov hopes that aligning all registrations at a federal level will prove that Russian safety standards are on par with international ones. "We need to put an end to speculations to the effect that our system is non-compliant. It is completely compliant," he said.

To facilitate the process, sixteen certification centres will be put in place, with eight already approved. Bulanov added that MRO services will be able to be carried out at Russian facilities, presenting a significant cost saving to local carriers.

Bulanov anticipates the process taking two to three years. Around 28 carriers will be affected, with Aeroflot (SU, Moscow Sheremetyevo) having the largest foreign-registered fleet. Except from its thirty SSJ 100-95, the rest of Aeroflot's fleet is registered in Bermuda, a total of 167 aircraft.