March 21, 2023

Rossiya Airlines plane at Istanbul International Airport.



It again became restless on our Russian-Turkish economic border. This week it emerged that on March 16, a Russian plane en route from Istanbul to Moscow did not refuel at a Turkish airport and was forced to refuel in Sochi. Refueling took 2.5 hours.

Reports say that, at the request of the United States, Turkey stopped refueling and servicing Airbus and Boeing planes of Russian and Belarusian airlines. Now refueling in Sochi will become an obligatory part of the return of travelers from Turkey. And that means the flights will be much longer.

However, at the Russian Ministry of Transport, the questions of the Komsomolskaya Pravda journalist were answered as follows:

– Flights of Russian airlines to the Republic of Turkey are operated as usual. The Russian Transport Ministry is conducting consultations with the Turkish side on certain issues of fuel supply for Russian aircraft. There are no problems with ground handling at Turkish airports for Russian airlines.

Like this. However, what kind of story is the refueling in Sochi and how massive these cases will become, the Ministry of Transport did not explain.


However, on the Turkish aviation news portal, the situation looks more alarming.

“In accordance with the decision of the Ministry of Customs and Trade, Turkey prohibited the supply of fuel and related services to Russian aircraft,” the article says.

The specific types of aircraft that are subject to restrictions are also listed.

“In accordance with the decision made, since March 14, the provision of various services to aircraft manufactured in the United States and under Russian-Belarusian control has been canceled,” the report says. – Refueling and related services are prohibited for private, cargo, commercial, charter aircraft, or aircraft manufactured in any other country and containing more than 25 percent U.S.-origin components when destined for Russia and Belarus. The decision was made in accordance with the US Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security, Export Practices Letter.


Needless to say, this is a complete surprise. In January this year, the Turkish aviation services reported that the United States was putting pressure on them, demanding that they not serve Russian and Belarusian planes, in which more than 25% of American technology. The Americans claimed to be tracking every plane, and the US Department of Commerce website published a “black list” of Russian planes with tail numbers – there are exactly one hundred planes on it.

The list is opened by the personal board of Russian businessman Roman Abramovich, then there are 33 Aeroflot boards (KP sent a question to the company about the situation with refueling in Turkey, but has not yet received an answer), 23 Azur Air , etc. But I must say, this list has been shortened. Last August, for example, it had 176 Russian planes, of which Roman Abramovich owned two.

Businessman Roman Abramovich.



“Turkey is trying to sit on two chairs,” Roman Gusarov, editor-in-chief of the Network portal, an expert of the State Duma Transport Committee, commented on the situation for – On the one hand, you want to maintain good relations with Russia and the flow of Russian tourists. On the other hand, the United States is pressing very hard. Now there is a process of negotiations between Russia and Turkey, and it is clear that the aviation problem is not considered in itself, but in conjunction with other economic issues.

According to the expert, the European Airbus was sanctioned by the United States because American engines were installed there.

“They withdraw almost 30% of the cost of the entire aircraft, that is, more than the 25% limit indicated by the Americans,” Gusarov explained.

But there is no danger that they will impose a ban on our “Superjets”, there is also something American there.

– Yes, – says Gusarov. – In the “Superjet” of American parts, about 15% of the cost of the aircraft. Everything you can expect from the United States. That same when they prohibited us from supplying these “Superjets” to Iran…


It is difficult to say how the situation will be resolved. Now the situation, according to information from the Ministry of Transport, is “in normal mode”. But it is clear that this is not the end. What are the options? Accept the situation with refueling in Sochi. It is possible that some kind of tourist product will be obtained, something like an after party in Sochi. And if you take fuel with you? Like a chauffeur, as on long trips, thrifty drivers carry a can of gasoline with them.

– Unlikely, – says Gusarov. – So the fuel is in the wing fuel tanks. The hall is not intended for storage. And if the compartment is insured, then this will lead to a decrease in the number of passengers. So we need to consider what is more profitable – to receive money for passenger transportation, but to make a detour for refueling in Sochi. Or do without passengers and without refueling.

Turkey may eventually succumb to the United States.

“The economy dictates here,” continues Gusarov. – The transport of Russian tourists to Turkey and back is a huge flow of money. In winter alone, a million Russians visited Turkey, and in summer there will be at least 5 million. Of course, Turkey wants to transfer this flow to itself as much as possible, to use its planes on it. And if you look at the situation from this angle, then the US sanctions are just in time. You can always say: yes, we would be happy to serve Russian planes, but they put pressure on us. Although in matters where it is not profitable for Turkey, they are determined not to give in to the United States.

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