Ukraine crisis: Iran will supply Russia with aircraft parts

LONDON – This week, the Iranian government announced it would supply Russia with aircraft parts, as sanctions continue to weigh.

Such an agreement was part of a comprehensive memorandum of understanding signed between the two countries which would also see the number of weekly flights increased to 35.

It would be a mix of cargo and passenger flights. and under the MoU there would be no capacity restrictions, meaning more flights could take place in the future.

A spokesperson for the Civil Aviation Organization in Iran said the following:

“Iranian and Russian officials present at the meeting stressed the need to strengthen bilateral cooperation in the field of air transport.”

“It was also decided to sign a cooperation agreement with Russia providing for the possibility of exporting to Russia parts and equipment manufactured in Iran, as well as the performance of repair and maintenance services and technical assistance of aircraft by Iranian repair centers”.

Russia’s air strategy intensifies…

Clearly, Russia is stepping up its sanctions-based air strategy.

According to reports, the United Aircraft Company of Russia is seeking to return 11 decommissioned planes to airworthy condition.

The three lucky customers are expected to be Red Wings, Volga-Dnepr and Aviastar-TU, with the aircraft consisting of:

  • 1 Antonov AN-124.
  • 2 Ilyushin IL-96-400T.
  • 8 Tupolev TU204/214s.

The reports also mention that the restoration is expected to cost $267 million and will be completed in 2024, less than two years from now.

Is restoration a strategy?

It seems clear that catering is the strategy as new aircraft are then built and delivered to the respective carriers in Russia.

The UAC is already restoring the Tu-204, IL-96 and AN-148, according to an announcement made by the manufacturer in March.

This is not surprising, especially given the planned investment announced by the Russian government last month to have 81% of the country’s total aircraft manufactured in Russia by 2030.

This 81% target was announced by Yury Borisov, the Russian Deputy Prime Minister, who made the announcement to government officials.

“The share of locally produced aircraft in the fleet of Russian airlines is expected to reach 81% by 2030.”

The figures of 81% and $14.5 billion represent an overall program of 1,000 Russian aircraft to be delivered by the end of the decade.

On top of that, it is rumored that Aeroflot may sign a deal with UAC for around 300 aircraft, which of course would kick start and speed things up on this.

The plans are in place…

It looks like the plans are starting to take shape more in Russia, especially with the Chinese government agreeing to supply Russia with alternate aircraft plans.

Chinese Ambassador to Moscow Zhang Hanhui told TASS the following early last month:

“We are ready to supply spare parts to Russia, we will establish cooperation. Now, [airlines] working [on this]they have certain channels, there are no restrictions from China”.

The United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) has started production of 20 Tupolev TU-214 aircraft under a production program that will replace Boeing and Airbus aircraft.

According to UAC CEO Yuri Slyusar, production will increase significantly:

“We need to expand [serial production] shortly. We have already started production of twenty Tu-214 aircraft,” the CEO told TASS.

With China choosing to help now, it will be interesting to see what kind of response this will elicit from the West and if any efforts are made to hinder this effort.


It remains clear that Russia is stepping up its plans to ensure that air travel in the country does not deteriorate more than necessary.

As sanctions continue to hit the country, they have no choice but to return the planes to service. However, there is also the issue of safety, especially with aircraft that have been decommissioned for a long time.

Either way, it’s going to be interesting to watch, especially if the plans work out. If they work, it will weaken the Western position on sanctions.

Christi C. Elwood