Would you prefer trains to airplanes

Russia wants to ban foreign license plates

It is absolutely absurd: For years, the Russian government has been pushing to make domestic aviation more Russian - with its own aircraft, engines and corresponding purchase recommendations to the airlines. But at the same time, many Russian airline aircraft do not even have Russian license plates.

Even with the state-owned Aeroflot, only the Russian-built Superjet 100s have the Russian registration RA. All other planes, built by Airbus or Boeing, have license plates that begin with VP-B or VQ-B. You are registered in the British overseas territory of Bermuda.

Ban could come in 2023

But that should now be the end of it. As reported by the Tass news agency, the Rosaviatsiya aviation authority is planning to ban Russian airlines from registering aircraft abroad. Authority chief Alexander Neradko said they wanted to offer incentives for a Russian registration first, but then also bring about a ban by changing the law. That could happen around January 1, 2023.

Neradko said that Russian airlines currently operate around 800 aircraft from foreign manufacturers that are also registered abroad. 95 percent of these are registered in UK overseas territories or Ireland. But why is that actually the case?

It's not the first attempt

The main reason is high import duties that Russian airlines have to pay when buying planes and registering them in Russia. In the case of aircraft leased abroad, it is also said that the lessors would often prefer a non-Russian registration, as different airworthiness standards would apply in Russia.

In 2020 the authorities exempted the airlines from VAT on imports as an incentive. Aeroflot registered its first Airbus A350 in Bermuda. A ban could now change this practice. However, the authorities have already announced steps against the Bermuda license plates in recent years - unsuccessfully.