Will ICAO sanction Putin for his double registration of Russia’s civil aircraft ?

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ICAO has entered the fray questioning the lawfulness and the safety of Putin’s civil aircraft fleet.

Russian Ministry approved deleting original foreign Country of Registration  and adding the Federation ICAO Code

Action “stole” aircraft under lease and raised RED FLAGs as to SAFETY

ICAO to investigate

Putin's Aviation Iron CurtainThe Ministry of Transport’s plan to take over the airworthiness certificates of foreign aircraft may have been too clever by half. By attempting to transfer (a/k/a “steal”)about 500 planes carrying the registration of Bermuda, Ireland, the Isle of Man and other jurisdictions, Putin’s minions drew a new Iron Curtain around its boundaries—keeping them to domestic flights only. Then, its announcement that the poorly regarded Russian aerospace companies were being granted authority to make replacement parts– without any OEM licences, the requisite data and perhaps the manufacturing equipment—made every aircraft into a doubtful airworthiness status.

The Russian self-inflicted seclusion may be exacerbated. The ICAO “Council called on the Russian Federation to immediately cease its infractions of the Chicago Convention, with a view to preserving the safety and security of civil aviation, and to urgently remedy these violations.”

ICAO rarely embarrasses any of its nations, but this declaration, based on a careful review of obligations under the ChicagoPutin's Aviation Iron Curtain Convention and other related treaties PLUS a report on the situation, the Secretariat was instructed to make all Member States aware of THIS significant safety concern.

Finally, Russia will be compelled to explain its transgressions at the September-October triennial Assembly, the international discipline equivalent of having to sit in the corner of an elementary school room.

Some may recall that ICAO lightning was seen striking near to the Belarus grounding of a Ryanair flight to take a political dissidents off the plane in 2021. ICAO sternly  declared that it was going to INVESTIGATE this transgression of international laws. As of March of 2022, no action had been issued by the international aviation safety body. The recently resigned US Ambassador to ICAO twice expressed his dismay at the inaction.


ICAO under normal situations is slow to reach consensus and make decisions.

ICAO is extremely reluctant to chastise, much less punish, one of its Member States.

A hope that this pattern does not repeat–this Fall’s Assembly convocation may serve as a forcing event that leads to some action on the Federation’s clear violations.

ICAO assembly


ICAO Council reviews dual registration of commercial aircraft by Russian Federation

ICAO Council


Article 18

Montréal, 28 June 2022 – During its 226th Meeting Session, the ICAO Council considered matters referring to the operation of double-registered aircraft in the Russian Federation.


Article 18 of the Chicago Convention provides that an aircraft cannot be validly registered in more than one State, although its registration may be changed from one state to another. Once a State has registered an aircraft, a number of safety-related obligations fall upon it by virtue of the Chicago Convention and its Annexes. The dual registration of aircraft raises safety concerns relating to, among others, the international validity of each airplane’s certificate of airworthiness and radio station license.

Taking note of the applicable legal principles contained in the Chicago Convention, and an oral report on the queries undertaken by the ICAO Secretariat in the interests of air safety in the context of operation of aircraft, the Council called on the Russian Federation to immediately cease its infractions of the Chicago Convention, with a view to preserving the safety and security of civil aviation, and to urgently remedy these violations.

The Council also requested the Secretary General to report these infractions, if not urgently rectified, to all Chicago Convention Contracting States, in accordance with Article 54 j) of the Convention and further decided to submit this matter to the 41st Session of the ICAO Assembly this September-October, for Contracting States’ consideration in accordance with Article 54 k) of the Convention.

The ICAO Secretariat was further requested to continue to monitor the situation closely, and to report to the Council on any further developments.




Secretariat organization chart

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2 Comments on "Will ICAO sanction Putin for his double registration of Russia’s civil aircraft ?"

  1. test

  2. One of the preeminent ICAO private practitioners, Irene Howie (also a frequent author here) adds these comments:

    Aircraft registration and its associated airworthiness and operational responsibilities, including under Article 83 bis for leased aircraft, are foundational to the international aviation safety structure that has existed since almost the dawn of aviation. Russia has flippantly tossed these international legal obligations aside.

    The ICAO Council announcement on this matter suggests it was taken up on the Council’s own initiative, not based on a complaint by an ICAO member state. That the Council also has announced here an unconditional finding that Russia is in violation of its treaty obligations and plans to so notify the Assembly if the situation is not urgently remedied begs us to consider what the next steps might be. This is all highly unusual.

    Chapter XVIII of the Chicago Convention governs disputes and default. Article 84 of that chapter deals with settlement of disputes. Is it a dispute when the Council declares a violation of the treaty and the offending state offers no justification? Unclear. Article 84 provides that in a dispute, the Council decision may be appealed by Russia within 60 days to an ad hoc tribunal. Article 84 and 85 govern this procedure. Article 88 states that the “Assembly shall suspend the voting power in the Assembly and in the Council of any contracting State that is found in default under the provisions of this Chapter.” Several states have had their voting rights suspended for failing to pay their financial obligations as ICAO members which is governed by a different chapter. Suspension of voting rights under Article 88 would be a more significant matter.


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