Major Russian airline could idle 30% of helicopter fleet as part supplies dry up
MOSCOW (AP) — One of Russia’s largest airlines, with an extensive network throughout Siberia, may have to take a third of its helicopter fleet out of service because of trouble getting parts, the airline’s head said Thursday.
The statement by Utair chief executive office Andrei Martirosov at an aviation trade show indicates that sanctions imposed by the West after Russia sent troops into Ukraine are making a dent in Russia’s economy.
Russian officials have claimed that the country can find substitutes for foreign parts and other other items.
“Of the helicopters in circulation, the fleet may be reduced by 30%. This is mainly due, of course, to engines for both foreign-made helicopters and domestic helicopters, in which the engines are not of domestic production,” Martirosov was quoted as saying by state news agency Tass.
Utair is Russia’s fourth-largest airline, with both fixed-wing aircraft and a helicopter fleet of more than 200 that provides both scheduled service and charter flights, focusing on the extensive oil fields and mining areas of Siberia.