S7 Airlines is Russia’s second-biggest airline. It has a relatively large fleet but has struggled with the sanctions imposed.
Per Cirium data, for January 2023, they’ve seen their destinations drop by 56 compared to January 2022. Meanwhile, countries operated to also decreased by 17. As a result, total flights and seats have dropped 18%, respectively. The airline, alongside other established Russian ones, has struggled to operate routinely.
Russian state media has reported that the airline is grounding its fleet of Airbus A321neos. Various reasons have been thrown out why the airline decided to ground the units. One of the more notable surrounds the airline preparing for the upcoming summer season. By grounding the units now, they can ensure that the series is readily available during the busier months of travel. However, other reports indicate an engine problem with the plane prevents them from operating.
One of the biggest concerns people have had over flying in Russia is the safety of it as time progresses. In addition, the inability to properly source spare parts or, in some instances, maintain fleets see questions over safety.
The Airbus A321neos, per data, have been equipped with Pratt and Whitney engines. However, many reports show these have ongoing operation and maintenance problems. As sanctions don’t permit Russia to obtain spare parts, some say this could be the beginning of broader issues for the fleet of operational planes.
S7 Airlines says that a typical winter grounding allows the planes to be inspected and prepped for the summer. Furthermore, they claim that the dropoff in demand to fly during the winter season allows them to ground the type.
Cirium data indicates all A321neos are on an operating lease. These, however, should’ve been returned but were not, as carriers kept their aircraft.
This is only beginning for Russian airlines!
It’ll be interesting to see how this develops moving forward as time only continues to pass.