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15 May 2023

Ana Swanson,
Niraj Chokshi, The New York Times

Russia: Aircraft parts made by Boeing & Airbus allegedly flowing to country despite sanctions, incl. cos. comments

U.S.-made technology is flowing to Russian airlines, despite danctions, 15 May 2023

...[D]espite...far-reaching sanctions, thousands of shipments of aircraft parts were successfully sent into Russia last year, according to a trove of Russian customs data obtained by The New York Times.

The data, which was compiled and analyzed by Import Genius, a U.S.-based trade data aggregator, shows that tens of millions of dollars of aircraft parts were sent to Russian airlines explicitly facing sanctions by the Biden administration, including to Rossiya Airlines, Aeroflot, Ural Airlines, S7 Airlines, Utair Aviation and Pobeda Airlines.

Those shipments were made possible by illicit networks...which have sprung up to try to bypass the restrictions by shuffling goods through a series of straw buyers, often in the Middle East and Asia.

For instance, dozens of shipments of copper wires, bolts, graphite and other parts marked as made in the United States by Boeing slipped into the warehouses of Aeroflot last year. They traversed obscure trading companies, free-trade zones and industrial parks in the United Arab Emirates and China, and then traveled into Russia, to help patch up Aeroflot’s dilapidated fleet.

In all, it shows that $14.4 million of U.S.-made aircraft parts were sent into Russia during the eight months, including $8.9 million of parts that are described as being manufactured or trademarked by the U.S. plane maker Boeing and sold into Russia via third parties.

Boeing said it had fully complied with U.S. sanctions and had suspended providing parts, maintenance and technical support for customers in Russia in early 2022. Experts in the aviation supply chain said the parts probably came from a variety of sources, such as existing overseas stocks from airlines and repair facilities or resellers who trade in scrapped parts...

Half a dozen export control lawyers and former government officials consulted by The New York Times said that many of the shipments in the Import Genius data likely violated sanctions, but that plane makers like Boeing or Airbus were not necessarily at fault. The aviation supply chain is complex and global, and the parts could have come from a variety of sources...

Aircraft parts originating in the European Union, including those marked as being manufactured or trademarked by Airbus, were also shipped into Russia last year, according to the data...

U.S. restrictions technically allow companies to apply for a special license to continue sending products to Russian carriers for “safety of flight” reasons, but both Boeing and Airbus said that they had neither sought nor received such a license. In addition, Airbus said that E.U. laws prevent it from shipping such goods to Russia, regardless of U.S. licensing.

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