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EU Parliament Worried About ‘Severe’ Impact of Russia Sanctions on Aviation

© AFP 2023 / BORIS HORVAT Air France plane
Air France plane - Sputnik International, 1920, 03.05.2022
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The European Parliament has penned a non-binding resolution that will raise awareness of the many hardships faced by the EU’s already hurting aviation industry as the European Commission is mulling tougher sanctions on Russia.
A 10-page draft motion for a resolution filed in the Strasbourg-based parliament said it was concerned by the "severe impact that the conflict [in Ukraine] is having on the aviation sector when it comes to operating costs, making both passenger and freight more expensive."
The European Union banned Russian air carriers from flying in its air space in February, prompting Russia to retaliate. The parliament said that the combination of sanctions and air bans had forced EU airlines to suspend or reroute their flights, making them longer and costlier.
"The maximum necessary route extensions in order for aircraft to avoid Russian and Belarusian airspace varies between three and four hours each way leading to refueling issues (extra stops, therefore extra costs), and longer crew working hours than those provided for in EU regulation," it said.
The rising price of fuel and dropping demand has been driving airlines’ operating costs upwards since last year. The mutual closure of airspace and limits on overflights in Ukraine have slashed EU air passenger traffic by 9%. The two countries also account for a large share of the global titanium production, the key metal in aircraft manufacturing, which threatens supply in the near term.
The logo of Russia's flagship airline Aeroflot is seen on an Airbus A320-200 in Colomiers near Toulouse, France, September 26, 2017 - Sputnik International, 1920, 02.03.2022
Biden: US Will Close American Airspace to All Russian Flights, Aircraft
The EU parliament has called on the commission, the EU’s top executive body, to map out a support strategy for European airlines to mitigate the double burden of COVID-19 and Russia sanctions as it considers a new package of restrictions on the Russian transport industry.
Separately, lawmakers criticised Russia for approving a law that requires re-registration of hundreds of planes it leased from foreign companies. They said aircraft should be returned to their "lawful owners" and that putting them in operation without airworthiness oversight would put lives at risk.
Russian air transport regulator Rosaviatsia argued that adding leased planes to the federal aircraft register was in line with international civil aviation rules stipulated in the Chicago Convention and would have no impact on air safety.
"Aircraft lease should be subject to the existing commercial contracts. The European Parliament should contribute to the implementation of contracts on the lease of airplanes by Russian airlines instead of supporting illegal sanctions that are in breach of international laws and the Chicago Convention," it said.
The Russian Transport Ministry cautioned Russia airlines against flying internationally, saying their air fleet could be impounded. It estimates that 1,140 planes leased from foreign companies had been re-registered in Russia as of 25 April.
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