Russia Has Stolen Over 700 Commercial Jets From Western Companies

The sanctions you may not be aware of

3 min readMay 15, 2022


Photo by Colin Lloyd on Unsplash

Early in the Ukraine invasion the West imposed serious sanctions on the Russian aeronautics business. Flights in and out of Russia were curtailed. But that was not the big sanction. We stopped selling and shipping airplane parts to Russia.

Russia is a physically huge country. Flying inside Russia is critical to their economy. But commercial planes are held to very high standards, for good reason. The lack of even one needed part can ground a plane.

And now they cannot get parts from Western manufacturers and their ability to make their own is very limited.

So, when the sanction was imposed, they grabbed up every jet on the ground in Russia to cannibalize for parts. The vast majority of these commercial planes were leased from Western leasing companies who scrambled to get them out, without much success.

It is estimated there are over 700 jets that have been seized. That is theft, if you can call it that, on a monumental scale, billions of dollars of property.

I suppose they call it nationalizing these assets.

Imagine that here in the US, where I live, that airlines could no longer get replacement parts. Parts critical to the safe operation of a plane. We routinely ground planes until a part can be replaced. There are hundreds of thousands of parts on these planes, many critical.

A lot of business would grind to a halt. Travel, entertainment, finance, airports, restaurants, hotels. That’s the situation Russia finds itself in, a country where travel is increasingly limited to trains and cars.

A country where air travel just became far more risky.

It’s important to note that Russian airlines have never been known for being state of the art, not even close.

Back in the days of props, gas engines, mechanical controls, and other analog systems, a good mechanic could hack a fix by making a part or improvising.

Now, all those systems are run by digital chips, chips we no longer sell to them.




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