Auxiliary Power, Autopilot, Brakes, and Fuel Pumps Fail On Russian Airbus – Sanctions Working?

There’s a video going around about an Airbus A321 aircraft in Russia where nothing in the cockpit seems to work. Even the fuel pumps seem to be inoperative. This is being shared as an illustration of the effects of Western sanctions on aviation in Russia – that airlines can’t get parts for Airbus and Boeing planes, and so their fleets are falling apart.

@flightstreamer Unbelievable amount of INOPs on Airbus A320 in #russia . #санкциипротивроссии #санкции ♬ original sound – Flight Streamer

To be sure there are challenges that these airlines are facing, and plenty of reports of existing planes being ransacked for parts. There are leased planes in Russia, with the leases cancelled, which are effectively stolen under international law (but compliant with Russian law). Holding together a fleet with duct tape and baling wire is going to be problematic for anything resembling proper documentation of maintenance as well.

However this cockpit video does not illustrate the problems of Russian airlines under sanctions. It appears that this 20 year old airframe, which was leased from Avolon, was flown to Estonia on December 30th and has been sitting in storage.

The plane no longer flies for Russia’s Red Wings Airlines, a low cost carrier based at Moscow Domodedovo Airport, and it hasn’t since before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the imposition of sanctions.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. The sanctions have been incredibly effective at creating hardships for us and Europe. For Russia, not so much.

  2. To be fair, that isnt far off from what happens in this country or any country. An airline wanting to make money and not cancel flighs to fix it will MEL anything they legally can.

  3. Europe may freeze this winter and is paying 25% higher for everything if they can even find it in stores. The Ruble is the best it’s been in 5 years and trade has opened up with India and China to the point Russia will have GDP growth. Gas prices and energy costs have surged in the U.S. and the economy is on the brink

    It’s a bit disingenuous to have an article showing a plane that’s been in storage even before the events started.

  4. This is pretty much an average flight. Again people from outside the industry just don’t get it. APU over the summer happens a lot.

  5. @Amy Fischer (or should I say, Anya Rybolov?!). Sanctions have hit the Russian economy badly- the World Bank reports GDP down over 1% (the fall of 0.4% just reported by Russian stat bureau Rosstat is understated, but still a drop).

    As soon as someone gets the balls to seize the oil tankers that are transhipping oil in the mid-Atlantic to China and India, the Russian export business is done. Probably just waiting until the fall, when the wells in Siberia will freeze up and then be out of commission for the next 30 years.

    Oil prices? Yeah, after Russia no longer is an oil-producing country, they will be up for a while, until more supplies come on line from new wells. So yes, the economies of Europe, particularly Germany will be hit hard- good thing they have all those assets seized from Russian oligarchs to fund energy subsidies for a while…

  6. Amy… Europe is actually ready for ready as they can be. Considering how close Russia is to them, they do not want to do anything that can help Russia advance. You must know little about what life must be under Russian colonies. Even the tiniest threat of one of your neighbors becoming one should be motivation to do what it takes. As for the Ruble…Yeah its strong…and that helps…. NO ONE!! It is hard to tell what the real value of the ruble is, it has limited ability to be traded since it’s sanctioned. I am not saying sanctions are always good, but I would glady pay what it takes to now feed Putin what he wants. The Russian economy is indeed a disaster right now.

  7. James.. everyday Russians do not have a good life right now. It’s nothing like what Ukraine is dealing with but they are struggling in every industry and have little they can do about it. They have to buy crappy ammo from North Korea!! I have a close friend over there and their family is suffering from depression. They live in Russia and have family in Lviv. They have kept me somewhat updated but it’s pretty bad when even discussing how the war is really going can get you thrown in jail for 15 years. Russia is in a near-fallen state. You can’t get quality imports , food options are limited but while there isn’t a shortage where they are there is far less variety. Oil is the only thing left keeping Russia going.

  8. @SMR

    The Ukrainian government has criminalized opposition parties and therefore banned democracy. It has criminalized showing videos of damage from Russian strikes because anything that disputes the narrative of the Ukrainian propaganda arm is not allowed. Ukrainians are arrested for accepting food, water, and aid from Russia. Don’t buy into the propaganda that also tells us inflation doesn’t exist in the U.S, the 2020 election wasn’t full of Dem election fraud, Hunter Biden’s laptop story wasn’t hid from the public by the FBI and media, and Covid vaccines are safer than a mild virus.

    Russia is essentially unchanged from before the sanctions for regular citizens. I see millions struggling in the U.S. and Europe with gas and food bills. Many are starving. Russia has the most grain production in the world. They actually want to export it to starving European countries but they are blocked. The politicians and elite in Europe rather regular citizens starve than use Russian grain.

  9. Amy. You have been so mislead. I’m guessing you are either far right Russian or you have just been watching the wrong media channels.

  10. Amy has no idea what she is talking about… Just repeating stupid things, with no base at all… Of course Russian economy is suffering, a lot by the way… GDP growing ha ha ha, nice try…

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