Russian Aircraft Registration should be the registry of last resort !!!

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Russia Wants Western-built Aircraft on RA-Registry

Aeroflot and other Russian Aircraft are registered overseas

Deputy Minister claims “capability” for airworthiness

Foreign Registry to protect airworthiness, assure recovery in default and stability

Imagine a meeting between the Russian deputy minister of transport and President Putin in which the underling explained to the former KGB czar that many of the aircraft owned by the government are registered in Bermuda for tax reasons. Assuming that there was some such dialogue, the headline makes immense sense.

“Speaking at the recent Wings of the Future conference in Moscow, Russian deputy minister of transport Aleksander Yurchik said the decision has been made and only details need to be worked out. “We are very capable to maintain airworthiness in this country. I expect that at the end of the transitional period a lot of non-Russian carriers will want to register their aircraft here,” he noted, while recognizing the industry harbors reservations about the implications of the planned policy shift. “A mutually acceptable situation will be found,” he insisted.

Aircraft Registries are being recognized as a source of governmental revenues (fees) and some countries have “marketed” their availability for such reasons. Another variation on the Registry game is the Flag of Convenience ploy- come put your aircraft within our jurisdiction BECAUSE we are not that aggressive in enforcing our regulations. The most sophisticated use of this aviation regime is to register the aircraft in Country A, obtain the Operating Certificate from Country B and then locate crews/bases in Countries C or D or…

Lessors are heavy users of a second country for registration for good reasons; they believe that the Country of Registration may:

Have a more stable government/economy,

Have stronger surveillance capabilities, i.e. the Country of Registration is more likely to assure that the aircraft will maintain its airworthiness,[1]

     Similarly, the Country of Registration has a network of repair stations more able to maintain the aircraft

Has laws which recognize the rights of the lessor to regain control of the aircraft in a default situation[2]

Has laws which protect the intellectual property of the drawings/documents associated with t5he aircraft [this is more likely a strong assertion by the manufacturer of the aircraft]

First, Deputy Minister Yurchik asserted that. “We are very capable to maintain airworthiness in this country. I expect that at the end of the transitional period a lot of non-Russian carriers will want to register their aircraft here.” His own IAC would not subscribe to that assertion

More aircraft disasters and fatalities occurred in Russia than in any other Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) nation last year, according to a report by the bloc’s top civil aviation authority.

The report presented by the Interstate Aviation Committee reveals that the safety level of aircraft transport in the CIS demonstrated “stable negative dynamics” during 2017.





Russia’s record on intellectual and commercial rights are less than exemplar. Foreign lessors may see the courts there as adverse to free enterprise. Today, a point of sensitivity for aircraft operations is the risk involved in the airspace—are there threats on the ground which should cause the Regulating Authority to prohibit such flight risks? Not a good history with President Putin’s regulator, but then again, Russia according to several tribunals, was actively engaged in a military strike against a neutral, civil aircraft.

The Deputy Minister’s claim of comparable regulatory standards and enforcement is not supported by the facts. Even its own IAC has doubts about the country’s aviation safety performance. Maybe, his real message is that Russian registry is a good place for those seeking a Flag of Convenience. If so, the Russian Registry should the registry of last resort!!!


[1] “I can accept that lessors should be careful,” Victor Snegirev, an aviation and assets finance lawyer with AviaLegalServices, told AIN. “There are discrepancies between the Russian airworthiness rules and practices and these of the FAA and EASA.

[2]  Russia has signed the Cape Town Convention in 2011.


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