Russia’s Aeroflot Tells Staff To Stop Reporting Malfunctions, Keep Flying Unsafe Planes

Russia’s Aeroflot Tells Staff To Stop Reporting Malfunctions, Keep Flying Unsafe Planes

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Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has led to all kinds of sanctions against the country, and that includes in aviation. These sanctions are causing Aeroflot to request that staff no longer record aircraft malfunctions. This doesn’t seem like it’s going to end well…

Aeroflot staff told to turn a blind eye to maintenance issues

Not only are Russian airlines banned from many countries, but at this point planes belonging to Russian airlines can’t properly be maintained anymore. Airbus and Boeing both can’t directly do business with Russian airlines, meaning that airlines like Aeroflot are having to go to the black market for maintenance and parts. For example, this is why Aeroflot recently started sending planes to Iran for maintenance.

Independent Russian media outlet Proekt published a fascinating story about the current state of airlines in Russia, and it paints a pretty bleak picture. This is especially true of national carrier Aeroflot.

For example, in March 2022, Aeroflot sent a memo to flight attendants instructing them to no longer enter data into the cabin log book about any technical failures or malfunctions. Rather, flight attendants were told to verbally report any problems to the captain, and only make any recordings with the captain’s approval.

Why? Well, there are some maintenance issues that aren’t deferrable, and the airline doesn’t want any maintenance issues recorded that could lead to a plane being grounded.

Prior to the war and sanctions, flight attendants were told to report all faults in the cabin log book. Heck, they could get reprimanded if they didn’t record these kinds of things. And now the opposite is true.

As a senior flight attendant at Aeroflot explained:

“When the flight issues and disruptions in parts supply arose, an implicit directive was issued. It involved sending a mass email to all senior flight attendants, instructing them not to record any breakdowns encountered during flights in the Cabin Log Book (CLB), but rather to verbally communicate the details of the issues and their location. Consequently, in cases where spare parts were unavailable and in order to avoid grounding the plane, the aircraft was allowed to take off with a malfunction, even if it was quite significant.”

Here’s how another Aeroflot employee explained the current situation:

“The main purpose of such a directive is to prevent aircraft from being grounded due to a malfunction that, on paper, should prevent the aircraft from being operated until it is fixed. Before the war this rule was strictly followed. Every little malfunction was reported and fixed right away.”

Some examples of this are given. For example, planes have been allowed to take off without a complete set of oxygen cylinders. Furthermore, planes have flown without the lavatory vacuum generator for six months, when that’s something that shouldn’t be deferred for more than 10 days.

Aeroflot isn’t properly maintaining its planes at this point

This is terrible, but also not surprising

One of the reasons that aviation is so safe is because the industry as a whole uses best practices, and errs on the side of caution. While airlines cut costs in all kinds of ways, safety isn’t one of them. It goes without saying that what’s happening in Russia right now doesn’t represent best practices, and sooner or later this will have consequences.

At the same time, I also can’t say that I’m surprised. Russian airlines are between a rock and a hard place. There’s travel demand, and these airlines primarily have foreign-built aircraft. Not only can Russian airlines no longer acquire these planes, but they can’t even maintain them anymore. While Russia is trying to expand its domestic aircraft production, that isn’t going to happen overnight.

So it’s not surprising to see airlines continue to fly planes even if it’s not safe. But I suppose at this point, this is hardly the biggest uphill battle that Russia faces…

Aeroflot mostly flies Airbus and Boeing planes

Bottom line

Russian airlines are in a dire situation, as they’re no longer able to maintain their aircraft. National carrier Aeroflot has gone from firing flight attendants for not recording safety related concerns, to now telling them to stop recording them.

Flight attendants are being told to no longer record maintenance issues in the cabin log book, but rather to let the captain know verbally. This way there’s no paper trail that could cause an aircraft to be grounded for maintenance issues.

What’s your take on what’s going on at Aeroplan?

Conversations (51)
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  1. justlanded Guest

    Aeroflop suffers an unexpected supply chain interruption...

    https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/article275474836.html

  2. CityNikky Guest

    Obviously, people need jobs, even in wartime. But at some point, I imagine flight attendants and pilots will leave if they feel their safety is threatened. Any data on that?

    1. Eskimo Guest

      Well if the propaganda machine works the way it should, they would be honored to fly.
      It's the patriotic thing to do.

      How else can you convince young people to die defending your country by invading another country thousands of miles away.

  3. Grzegorz Guest

    Wouldn't mind a few of those crashing. And before you start saying "not all russians are bad" - yeah, they are. They are complicit unless they are ACTIVELY protesting. Which they are not doing. And if they are not doing so, well, either they are for the things Putin is doing or don't mind them. So they can all burn.

    Also, those are stolen planes.

    1. Syd Guest

      Jeez, get some help man. For real. Whatever it is that’s happening to you - I hope you seek help, and I sincerely hope they help you!

    2. Jesse Guest

      You are abslutely insane.

    3. Grzegorz Guest

      I knew the Putin trolls would come. The West never understood Russia. And the West is fully complicit in this horrid war of Russians against the world. Should've blown the USSR up in the 1920s...For you I am sick. For the CEE - you are.

    4. Syd Guest

      Bro you really are trouble. Your reaction to "why are you vehemently wishing death on random people" is "yall are Putin trolls." For real my guy, i say this from the bottom of my heart - you can do a lot better, get help, or just turn the TV off for a week. You clearly know between right and wrong, and you are on the right side of this conflict, but you're not in a good place.

    5. Eskimo Guest

      And that dear readers, is why a divided country would kill each other over someone else's war.

    6. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      Probably about the most psychotic thing written here.
      Well, bravo on an accomplishment I guess.

      That's like saying there should be a bunch of United/Delta/American crashes because the USAmerican citizens allowed some dope to invade a country that never attacked it, back in 2003.

      Was that war totally fucked? Yes.

      But does Jane Roe at 123 Elm Street, who's just trying to make ends meet (and probably doesn't even understand the political landscape because...

      Probably about the most psychotic thing written here.
      Well, bravo on an accomplishment I guess.

      That's like saying there should be a bunch of United/Delta/American crashes because the USAmerican citizens allowed some dope to invade a country that never attacked it, back in 2003.

      Was that war totally fucked? Yes.

      But does Jane Roe at 123 Elm Street, who's just trying to make ends meet (and probably doesn't even understand the political landscape because she's working 3 jobs) deserve to be wished a fiery death by some internet freak?

      ....gonna go with: no.

  4. Pierre Diamond

    By the way, most of those Aeroflot planes are not owned by Aeroflot, but by international leasing companies which have been unable to reposess them and have stopped being paid the lease, while the planes have been re-registered asd Russian with the RA prefix.

    In international law, it has a name: Piracy. Even if and when the war ends, kit will take Aeroflot and other Russian operators YEARS or DECADES to get oiut of this...

    By the way, most of those Aeroflot planes are not owned by Aeroflot, but by international leasing companies which have been unable to reposess them and have stopped being paid the lease, while the planes have been re-registered asd Russian with the RA prefix.

    In international law, it has a name: Piracy. Even if and when the war ends, kit will take Aeroflot and other Russian operators YEARS or DECADES to get oiut of this quagmire and fly safe and efficient (Western) planes since they are unable to produce any.

    1. Jesse Guest

      To be fair, what did you expect? That Aeroflot would basically ground itself? Aerofot attempted to keep making payments, but the leasing companis were not allowed to accept the payments. Is that Aeroflot's fault, or the governments of other countries? Be realistic. Western countries have stolen billions in Russian assets. Did you not expect a response? Maybe these planes are "pirated", but that pales in comparison to what has been stolen from the Russian government...

      To be fair, what did you expect? That Aeroflot would basically ground itself? Aerofot attempted to keep making payments, but the leasing companis were not allowed to accept the payments. Is that Aeroflot's fault, or the governments of other countries? Be realistic. Western countries have stolen billions in Russian assets. Did you not expect a response? Maybe these planes are "pirated", but that pales in comparison to what has been stolen from the Russian government and private Russian individuals.

    2. Pierre Diamond

      Vladimir Vladimirovitch, your slip is showing...

  5. Fooblah Guest

    Flying hostesses don’t report on critical equipment malfunctions, like avionics or power plant issues. If the toilet is out and there’s no oxygen, no biggie. However, I’d bet the pilots and mechanics are also being told to downplay issues.

    1. Guest Guest

      Cabin crew are responsible for checking of the cabin emergency equipment, among other things, including galley and lavatory systems, smoke detectors and emergency oxygen. Many of these installations need replacement at regular intervals, or it’s a ‘no-go’. Taking off with less than the minimum required oxygen (as mentioned in the article) can indeed be critical if there is a decompression and not enough oxygen for the cabin crew.

  6. iamhere Guest

    As you said in another article some foreign airlines are still flying to or from Russia. Let's hope they do not end up having a problem over Russian airspace or there because that could be a huge issue to get it repaired.

    1. Grzegorz Guest

      Easy solution - don't do business with fascists.

    2. Eskimo Guest

      @Grzegorz

      "don't do business with fascists."

      JPMorgan had different ideas, last I remember this is currently the largest bank in US. Easy solution you say.

  7. glenn t Diamond

    Not good days to be an Aeroflop FA !

  8. Flyer Guest

    The simple answer for Russia is to import the C919 from China. Recently certified by the Chinese FAA and flying there. China is developing an aero industry which it hopes one day will compete with Boeing and Airbus. It is all based on western technology.

    1. Fooblah Guest

      Western technology? Wings??

  9. Warren Trout Guest

    Pilots unions in the US have been ordered by Federal judges not to writeup too many known defects. Yes, real and very valid defects. It hurts the company's on time ratings.

    I hate to criticize other countries when we do the same insanity here

    1. Eskimo Guest

      Since you brought up issues State side too, did you also forget about 737MAX?

    2. Pierre Diamond

      The MAX tragedies were not a MAINTENANCE issue.
      How do you maintain something you don't know exists?

    3. Eskimo Guest

      @Pierre

      I'm not looking from a MAINTENANCE view.

      The "Federal judges" reminded me of the regulators. The ones who oversee airworthiness of MAX.
      The authority who should be representing and protecting the public, not a corporation. Especially ones that sells actual WMDs.

  10. MildMidwesterner Diamond

    Q. What single-engine plane can fly halfway across Russia?

    A. An Aeroflot 737 scheduled to fly all the way across Russia.

  11. Bobo Bolinski Guest

    Very much looking forward to seeing the news reports of Aeroflot planes going down in a fireball with all the fascist Putin boot-licker scum aboard. Send them all to hell quickly.

    1. pstm91 Diamond

      You're looking forward to a plane full of innocent civilians crashing? Not all are Putin loyalists, in fact that is far from the truth. Way to advertise yourself as a complete asshat, though.

    2. WillM Member

      Hey man, can I join your asshat company? Eagerly looking forward to Aeroflot planes falling out of the sky. The more the better.

    3. Eskimo Guest

      And that dear readers, is why a divided country would kill each other over someone else's war.

  12. Bob Guest

    At Aeroplan - they cant maintain a call center - its either a 10 hour wait, or they just hang up. AC is a sad airline whose staff are punished for any customer friendly move.

  13. SBS Guest

    Oxygen canisters, lav vacuum generators - these are all signs of Western decadence that makes people weak, just like airbags, anti-lock brakes and catalytic converters in cars. Russian people are strong, and are now living free from such corrupting influence. *sarcasm off*

    1. Eskimo Guest

      LOL, without the sarcasm, did older Russian built jets like Il-62, Il-86, Tu-154, Yak-40 etc. have those "Western decadence" such as oxygen canisters, lav vacuum generators?

    2. SBS Guest

      They probably did, at least to fly to the west. Engines were noisy, fuel-thirsty crap. Il-62 was the only long-range plane, needed to fly to Cuba without stopping in the US. The first wide-body, Il-86, had to follow the 1940s transatlantic routing due to severe range limitations, stopping in Shannon and Gander to get from Moscow to JFK - in the 1990s, after 747 has been in service for 20 years!

  14. Eskimo Guest

    The only benefit of not removing humans from flying the plane can be seen here.
    If something has gone wrong, at least the pilots would go down with the plane.
    Not that automation wouldn't have prevented it from happening.

  15. lavanderialarry Guest

    Hasn't Aeroflot been doing just that for decades?

  16. Brian G. Gold

    @Lucky you might want to edit the last line: "What’s your take on what’s going on at Aeroplan?" :-)

  17. Syd Guest

    Aeroflot was a great airline while it lasted, I miss flying them. But well, invading neighboring countries has consequences.

  18. Bagoly Guest

    So Sanctions *have* had some real effect.

  19. Mark Guest

    I thought Russian airspace is banned by NATO? Why do they need planes?

    1. Eve Guest

      First of all, no airspace is banned, and second of all, NATO is not at all involved in this topic. And third of all it is western countries and allies restricting airspace access to Russian aircrafts, who in turn restricted aircrafts of those countries from accessing Russian airspace

    2. STEFFL Diamond

      There is MORE flights then ever before between Russia - Asian Countries to get the Russians to there sunny destinations in Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Seychelles, Maldives, UAE, Turkey and Mauritius too.
      You would be surprised how much they fly!
      Seems like you DON;T travel much???? Sibiria-Western Russia is almost as far as a flight Chicago - US Westcoast!
      Look at a map, then you can answer that Q yourself!

    3. Bagoly Guest

      You are going in the right direction but not far enough: Vladivostok to Moscow is 4000 miles. Chicago to LA is only 1740 miles.

  20. Nelson Diamond

    Iran will for sure not have MRO and spare parts available for a long time, so would not be surprised if in that near future there will be some bad news and as we know Russians, they will once again try to hide anything who might happen. It surprises me this kind of news reached the world.
    Would I be a crewmember of any Russian Carrier, for sure I would use a oneway ticket.

  21. destruya Member

    The world's first truly Libertarian airline, completely free of regulation! >.>

  22. AA70 Diamond

    "I have not had plane crash since Tuesday!"

  23. Michael_FFM Diamond

    At least when flying business class one is going done in style and with incredible service.
    More seriously: Sad, but given the circumstances unavoidable, if they don't want to ground aircrafts.

  24. Never In Doubt Guest

    Cue Vlad’s troll army!

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

MildMidwesterner Diamond

Q. What single-engine plane can fly halfway across Russia? A. An Aeroflot 737 scheduled to fly all the way across Russia.

7
Syd Guest

Aeroflot was a great airline while it lasted, I miss flying them. But well, invading neighboring countries has consequences.

7
Brian G. Gold

@Lucky you might want to edit the last line: "What’s your take on what’s going on at Aeroplan?" :-)

6
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