Russia registered many of its airliners and oligarchs’ aircraft to avoid the domestic taxes
Bermuda Civil Aviation Authority suspended 745 registrations due to global sanctions in response to Putin’s War
With no VP-B or VQ-B on their tails, the planes not allowed into or out of airpace –GROUNDED
The tiny island of Bermuda, an island of only 21square miles, has fired a civil weapon at Russia. For odd reasons the Bermuda Civil Aviation Authority (BCAA) is the civil airworthiness registry for 745 aircraft owned by companies and oligarchs of the state of Putin’s unwarranted aggression.
The BCAA order withdrew the ability of these individual and corporate operators to display VP-B or VQ-B on their aircraft. This simple two letter designation, here, signifies that the airworthiness of the aerial vehicle is the responsibility of this British Overseas Territory parliamentary dependency. Without a valid VP-B or VQ-B displayed on the tail, most CAAs and perhaps most sovereign Air Traffic Controls will prohibit departure from or entry into their airspace—essentially blocking any such flights anywhere except over nations supporting Putin.
While the Russian Ministry of Transport has quickly moved the aircraft to its registry, thus giving Russian airworthiness responsibility (now R will be displayed on their Tails). There are still serious legal issues—
- these aircraft are currently registered in Bermuda and Russia; duplicate registration is a serious violation of the ICAO rules;
- Russia’s breaching of leases with foreign entities will likely result in zero interest in future financial support of its aircraft.
- The oligarchs may never be able to register their corporate aircraft outside of the Mother Country after this absurd conflict ends. The comfort of being able to “base” these assets beyond the taxing authority of Russia and/or the risk of losing the favor of an autocratic leader.
- Russia has aspirations for future sale of its Sukhoi and other commercial airliners. This attack on the Ukraine will likely cause all major CAAs to revoke their bilateral aviation safety agreements that are essential to sales outside of the countries aligned with Putin or nations unable to purchase aircraft from other OEMs.
Little Bermuda has launched a justified civil aviation action that has had a significant on Putin and his oligarchs plus will leave an imprint on Russia.
Aviation authorities say they can’t verify planes are airworthy
The Bermuda Civil Aviation Authority (BCAA) on Sunday suspended the flight certificates of Russian-operated aircraft registered in the country because of concerns international sanctions have degraded the ability to ensure they meet airworthiness standards.Sanctions “have had a significant impact on the ability to sustain safety oversight on Russian operated aircraft,” Bermuda aviation regulators said in a statement. Flight, technology and other restrictions are so severe that aviation authorities are “unable to confidently approve these aircraft as being airworthy.”
The United States and European Union have closed their airspace to Russian aircraft and prohibited the sale of most avionics and aircraft components to Russia to punish the Putin government for its invasion of Ukraine. Aircraft manufacturers Boeing and Airbus, which have supplied a large portion of the Russian commercial airfleet, have suspended parts, maintenance and technical support for Russian airlines. The EU also banned leasing, maintenance and insurance of aircraft in Russia. Other countries, including Canada and the United Kingdom, have barred Russian aircraft from overflying their territory too.
Russian flag-carrier Aeroflot mostly flies Boeing and Airbus aircraft. The sanctions and Bermuda’s airworthiness decision essentially limit Russian aviation to domestic flights and could quickly bring the whole system to halt if operators can’t keep aircraft maintained and certified.
The Association of Tour Operators of Russia (ATOR) warned that Bermuda’s decision covers hundreds of Russian aircraft and could result in aircraft currently in countries without sanctions being denied the ability to return to Russia.
Three-quarters of Russia’s commercial airfleet – 745 aircraft – are registered in Bermuda, according to aviation advisory firm IBA. The exact number of aircraft impacted by Bermuda’s decision is difficult to determine because airlines have been busy transferring aircraft registry to Russia.
The Ministry of Transport’s plan to take over the airworthiness certificates of foreign aircraft and their maintenance has raised safety concerns among aviation experts because Russian carriers won’t have access to software updates and manufacturer support, Russian newspaper Kommersant reported.
Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency last week urged national carriers to significantly reduce their scheduled international flights and recommended that carriers with aircraft from overseas lessors should suspend international flights to prevent the seizure of aircraft by other governments, which has happened in several cases.
The Federal Air Transport Agency also recommended that Russian citizens use foreign air carriers to return home, with routes via Azerbaijan, Armenia, Kazakhstan possible options or flying to Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Finland and completing their journey by ground transportation.
Valery Kudinov, the [now fired} head of the Aircraft Airworthiness Department at the Federal Air Transport Agency, told the Tass news outlet that since the end of February, more than 180 aircraft have been added to the Russian state registry, which only stood at 70 aircraft before then.
Then Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin passed a law to legalize that questionable move. According to Reuters, Putin signed the law Monday morning to allow regional and national airlines that leased aircraft from foreign companies to now list on Russia’s registery and “to ensure the uninterrupted functioning of activities in the field of civil aviation.”
Along with airline lessors canceling their leases, this would effectively nationalize the stranded fleet and make it difficult for lessors to regain their equipment, especially before the March 28 deadline.
This creates another conundrum because the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) mandates that “an aircraft cannot be validly registered in more than one state,” and since there was no legal transfer of ownership from the lessors who outfitted Russian airlines’ fleets, these airplanes will be operating illegally in Russia.
The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) has revoked the certificates of airworthiness for all aircraft registered in Ireland and operated by Russian airlines, the regulator confirmed March 15. The move follows a similar step made by Bermuda and is also based on the argument that, because of the sanctions…
 Rosaviatsiya… imposes heavy taxation on registering non-Russian aircraft with Russian registration…the Western-built aircraft could be registered on foreign lands which could allow them to operate these aircraft in Russia without any additional financial obligation.
 Article 83 bis arrangements are regularly used in Russia and a bilateral agreement between Russia and Bermuda has been in effect since 1999. International lessors and financiers regularly require Russian-operated aircrafts in which they have an interest to be registered in Bermuda… Bermudian registration mark commencing with “VP-B” or “VQ-B” rather than the Russian registration mark commencing with “R”.
 Foreign CAAs already have reason to doubt the reliability of aircraft with an R on their tales-Russia’s Aviation Safety Review Appears To Be Inadequate; Kamchatka Crash Confirms Russia Not A World Class Aviation Safety Regime
 Russia’s Air Transport Agency fired an official who publicly outlined the country’s plan to keep airlines flying despite sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine, Kommersant reported.Valery Kudinov was in charge of overseeing airworthiness at the agency. At an event last week, he told reporters of preparations to keep foreign-owned aircraft worth up to US$10 billion in the country rather than return them to lessors.According to reports from the Russian daily and other news outlets, Kudinov said on March 10 that more than 100 aircraft had already been re-registered in Russia, and spare parts held back by Boeing and Airbus were being sought from outside the country, including in China, which had refused.
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