The Sanction-Fueled Destruction of the Russian Aviation Industry

The Sanction-Fueled Destruction of the Russian Aviation Industry

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Writing by Sam Denby and Tristan Purdy
Editing by Alexander Williard
Animation led by Josh Sherrington
Sound by Graham Haerther
Thumbnail by Simon Buckmaster

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52 Responses

  1. Matheus Duque says:

    Never doubt Sam’s ability to find a way to make a plane video out of any topic

  2. NotDart says:

    when in a war, you can count on Wendover to make a video about the Logistics and Aviation about it.

  3. SRFriso94 says:

    Let’s not forget the impact this will have on safety. The reason air travel is so safe is because the industry is relatively open about mistakes made either by pilots, manufacturers, or maintenance crew. Every crash is a learning opportunity, and so it’s pretty rare that two airplanes are brought down by the same flaw. The 737 MAX was a very rare exception, and it paid the price. Not so in the Soviet Union though. Accidents were swept under the rug where possible and the findings from any investigations were never made public. If you go to the Wikipedia article about incidents involving AeroFlot aircraft, the list is so long it has to be broken down into collapsible sections by decade. Russia is rapidly sliding back to those days, so I won’t be surprised if Russian planes start falling out of the sky again.

    • kamui004 says:

      More so when they won’t get any parts due to sanctions, so they either have to buy them from 3rd parties with dubious records to avoid the same sanctions; manufacture them themselves or just cannibalize parts or turn them into hangar queens. As mentioned in other channel videos and articles, pretty much the west has to give up on any airliner Russia holds now and just consider them scrap metal because they’re a latent hazard without any reputable maintenance record and parts from now on. Right even China has not agreed to give them any military, monetary or even sell them airplane parts, just given them lip service. Most likely they held and saw what happens with the invasion and realized it’s better to lose 1 trade partnet and 2% income than lose most of their trade and income.

    • Nicholas Walsh says:

      Also don’t forget that the Russian airline industry did more damage to the Soviet military than the West did. After all, no Western missile killed practically the entire senior command staff of the Soviet Pacific Fleet. A Tu-104 did.

    • Green&Blue Productions says:

      To be fair their milltary jets have been doing that regardless of what the coutry is formaly called.

    • Tski says:

      Yep. The Russians will hide issues just like in the Ussr.

    • Glynn Morgan says:

      @Jo Bic Cannibalizing half their fleet for parts has already started.

  4. auethebest says:

    A couple of days ago I took the finnair flight from seoul to Helsinki, even though it was much longer than the original path, I got too see the vast north Pole and the northern lights, which I think turned out to be worth it.

    • ProfessorHoffman says:

      @Gmngvlogs &MORE definitely below. Need to be on the ISS to see it from above

    • Rosto says:

      @Joseph Begniol dude chill out lmao, the person you replied to originally was literally only saying “I’d be willing to pay more to fly thanks to these sanctions on russia because the views are nicer”. no need to turn it into a politically incorrect shit show

    • Joseph Begniol says:

      ​@nathon tailor oh yes, if my point of view is different I am a bot. It’s like you guys have been watching this conflict like 3 weeks ago and started saying a lot of nonsenses. All the leaders were aware this could happened but they did nothing and more, they added more fuel to the fire. The result now is Russia has invaded Ukraine. The media brainwashed the people with poor logical thinking before and after the invasion. I don’t think it’s worth to discuss about that since you automatically think that you’re right and I’m wrong, I am a bot, pro-russian and all these BS. Ukraine is only a way to make Russia weaker and destroy their economy. poor Ukrainians, they were fooled and used. The russians had no other choice since no one wanted to listen to the demands, they had to take their furture in hands and demilitirize Ukraine. Almost the same what we (the west) did in Syria, Libya, Irak and Afghanistan. But Anyway, I AM A Bot so my opinion doesn’t matter

    • Gmngvlogs &MORE says:

      wait so did you fly below or above the northern lights?

    • nathon tailor says:

      @Rosto it’s a Russian bot

  5. ali kartal says:

    It is really impressive how you know about the leasing structure and companies, Cape Town convention, repossessions etc. This is an esoteric subject which very few people outside the industry know, yet it forms the backbone of international air travel. Good work.

    • Chad Wells says:

      @Mim Ozan Tamamoğulları It’s esoteric knowledge but hardly a secret or something that an intelligent person can’t understand from outside. He makes aviation videos so he and the team do a bunch of research and prep so they can get the technical details right. That simply requires good journalistic skills, not necessarily insider experience. He may also work with a technical advisor who does work in the industry.

    • Mim Ozan Tamamoğulları says:

      @NWN He could have people he knows in the industry who tells him about this stuff. This would mean that while Sam himself technically wouldn’t be an insider, his videos would still be produced as if he was.

    • NWN says:

      @Mim Ozan Tamamoğulları It’s 2022 and Sam is now 25 years old. And Sam has been posting videos since 2015. He can’t have been THAT much of an insider considering he’s been full-time YouTube for quite a few of those 7 years.

    • William Farley says:

      Welcome to Wendover it’s good to have you

    • Mim Ozan Tamamoğulları says:

      I’m pretty sure he is inside the industry, this channel is one of the leading YouTube channels when it comes to the topic of aviation.

  6. Strudlfaust says:

    The biggest difference with closure of Russian airspace and the cold war is that now only Russian airspace is closed, which makes a route over Kazakhstan and China possible for flights between eg. Frankfurt-Tokyo and thus not all flights will be operated over the North pole or Alaska

    • PsychoLucario says:

      I thought carriers avoided china because of their extremely wonky patchwork of no fly zones, plus ukraine being defacto closed means you gotta route around that as well

    • InciniumVGC says:

      @Danny Nah, Moldova is next on the chopping block, provided Putin succeeds in Ukraine.

    • Danny says:

      Russia will probably invade central Asia after the Ukraine war ends so I wouldn’t be too sure about that.

    • Adrian Mei says:

      @Strudlfaust Flying through China will mean delays or fewer flights because the traffic is already huge for domestic flights. I doubt foreign flights are allowed over Chinese airspace even now

    • Strudlfaust says:

      Actually the Caucasus route is so effective that even Finnair use it for Tokyo flights depending on the winds and it has taken pretty much the same time (12h20) on both routes

  7. Sooner Keith says:

    I knew there would be a problem in Russia with the airspace restrictions, but I never really considered how it would also affect the rest of the world. I realized the closure of Russian airspace would cause routes to change, but seeing how Anchorage is such an important point in aviation is very interesting.

    • Gmngvlogs &MORE says:

      @felipaorfr global warming doesnt exist stop spreading fake news in the comments u bot

    • derbagger22 says:

      Excellent video on Anchorage as a past and present aviation hub. Flying in and out of Anchorage back in September, I couldn’t believe the amount of large cargo planes going in and out. An AvGeek dream…

    • felipaorfr says:

      Interestingly, with global warming melting the north pole, it will probably also be the busiest port in the world in the future.

    • Smith Coder says:

      and now when a plane has crashed, it will find the passangers frozen, which is good for investigation

    • Reebs says:

      Getting Alaska was a HUGE win for the USA.

  8. Luca says:

    12 billion USD worth of aircraft have effectively been nationalized, meaning colossal losses for the lessors.
    A lot of people are underestimating the impact this will have on insurance premiums, leasing rates and ultimately ticket prices.

    • PsychoLucario says:

      shouldn’t have leased to russia, they knew it was an authoritarian regime already under sanctions

    • Marek Podgorny says:

      @James Philip Sure they are, at least short-term. The process will be expensive and, most likely, not beneficial to ecology for some time. With sufficient renewable services installed, the energy they produce will be used to maintain/expand their own infrastructure in a self-perpetuating cycle. With time efficiency will get improved, as it does for every technology. This will will give humanity enough time to install massive nuclear power using small reactors and, eventually, harness nuclear fusion.

      If the humanity survives until this happens, energy generation worries will disappear and, perhaps, global warming process will be arrested.

      In order to get there Putinesque Russia must be declawed, permanently. They must learn to stay in line.

    • Marek Podgorny says:

      @Stephen I doubt it. My bet is these funds will be used to reconstruct Ukraine.

    • Marek Podgorny says:

      @Pat DohretyYes if stranded anywhere in the countries that joined sanctions. They cannot fly over these countries, so they cannot take off. In addition, they cannot buy fuel or services. Only thing they can expect is a tow to a secluded airport area.

    • Marek Podgorny says:

      @Luca Yes, that’s outright loss. Irish lessors will have a huge write-off and won’t pay taxes for years. The loss will spread/dilute. West can afford it without a blink.

  9. op4l4 says:

    The Comac 919 uses the LEAP engine, made by Safran (French) and GE (American). So making it free of sanctioned parts is going to be a challenge.

    • Paul says:

      America was warned many many times that allowing all of our technological innovations to be manufactured in a communist dictatorship was a bad idea, but big business wanted to do it to save a buck and politicians of both parties caved to their demands. Now China wants to manufacture their own commercial airliner. Export of aircraft technology, and especially engines to China is specifically prohibited by ITAR laws. Oh, so we’re just going to sell them the engines. We won’t give them the technical data. I’m sure they won’t be able to take one apart and reverse engineer it, at least not for the first week or so. By next year they’ll probably have an exact copy installed in a military airplane.

    • Sekir80 says:

      @wubba lubba dub dub Please, god, no. It would mean an instant jump in GPU prices. Again. It was starting to reach normal. 😀

    • wubba lubba dub dub says:

      And China will have its own additional sanction problems when it invades Taiwan.

  10. Zhu Bajie says:

    Pacific US routes seem to only increase slightly. ORD Chicago via Anchorage, Tokyo, to Hong Kong increased only 5% from a direct route over Russia. The costs to European airlines are clearly the most affected but the war and the threat of larger aggression are in their back yard.

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