Aviation Sanctions Expand

BIS updated has its list of sanctioned aircraft flying in Russia and Belarus to include 25 Airbus models identified as apparently violating the EAR’s de minimis threshold for U.S. components. There are now a total of 183 aircraft identified on the list for apparent violations of U.S. export controls.   “Today’s identification of 25 foreign-produced aircraft further degrades Russian airlines’ ability to operate their fleets of both U.S. and EU airplanes,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Enforcement Matt Axelrod.


Any subsequent actions taken with regard to any of the listed aircraft, including, but not limited to, refueling, maintenance, repair, or the provision of spare parts or services, are subject to the prohibitions outlined in General Prohibition Ten of the EAR (Section 736.2(b)(10)).  Any aircraft manufactured in the United States, or that is manufactured in a foreign country and includes more than 25 percent by value of U.S.-origin controlled content, is subject to a license requirement.


The Russia and Belarus Civil Aviation fleet includes more than 500 leased western-origin aircraft, according to Cirium, with about 435 remaining in Russian hands.   As compliant maintenance, repair and operating (MRO) resources dry up, expect continued enforcement actions in the MRO market, and heed Deputy Secretary Alan Estevez’s advice given BIS Update attendees in June: “If I were you, I wouldn’t fly on a Russian airplane.”


Business aircraft remain a high-profile focus of sanctions activity.   In August, a 16 year old Boeing Business Jet (737-7EM BBJ) became the latest target of the Office of Export Enforcement.    Currently stored in Moscow, the aircraft was sanctioned for being flown there in March without the requisite BIS authorization.


As part of the response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, on February 24, 2022, BIS imposed a license requirement for the export or reexport to Russia of aircraft subject to the EAR. 


On March 2, 2022, BIS also removed the availability of the Aircraft, Vessels, and Spacecraft (AVS) license exception for all aircraft registered in, owned, or controlled by, or under charter or lease by Russia or a national of Russia, meaning they must have BIS authorization for legal operation. 


Flight records reflect that after the license requirement was put in place, the Lukoil-owned aircraft was reexported to Russia on one occasion without the requisite BIS authorization. 

The aircraft flew from Dubai, United Arab Emirates to Moscow, Russia with a Lukoil official as a passenger. No reexport license was sought or obtained from BIS prior to the reexport of the aircraft.


 Since September 2014, Lukoil has been subject to sectoral sanctions imposed by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control

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