Russia “stole” hundreds of passenger planes, representing billions of euros in losses to its foreign lessors, assured senior European officials, after Moscow began to allow the registration of these planes on its territory.
Russian airlines have until Monday (28) to return the planes under air sanctions passed by the European Union after Russian forces invaded Ukraine a month ago.
However, under a law enacted by President Vladimir Putin and published on March 14, Russian companies have the possibility to register planes they lease abroad in Russia so that they can fly on Russian territory.
This measure allows companies to continue using these devices for domestic flights, despite Western sanctions. If they flew out of Russia they would be confiscated.
“Most of the planes that could fly abroad are leased aircraft, which are of European or American origin, and which have been stolen from their rightful owners, the lessors,” said European Commission Director-General for Transport Henrik Hololei.
By re-registering the aircraft in Russia, the authorities of that country are “gravely violating international aeronautical law and also the basic law of civil aviation, the Chicago Convention”, warned Hololei, during his speech at an online conference of the organization. European air traffic monitoring company, Eurocontrol.
“There are about 10 billion [de euros]more than 500 devices seized by the Russians and registered by them”, warned, in turn, the director general of Eurocontrol, Eamonn Brennan. “This creates a very difficult situation for European rental companies and insurance companies”, he added. .