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.

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