Two years before war broke out between Russia and Ukraine, a private Boeing 737 was recorded flying over the French Riveria, the Maldives, and the Seychelles. Russian oligarch Vladimir Yevtushenkov allegedly owns the jet. Besides flying over holiday destinations, the jet also flew towards various financial centres.
However, this year, the jet did not follow the well-traveled route but flew towards Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Belarus. It also landed in China. Flightradar24 was able to record this data.
Reuters, an online news agency, reports that since imposing Western sanctions on Russia, the oligarchs have resorted to several measures to keep the jets running. However, due to restrictions, travel destinations have been reduced to a handful.
The privately owned Boeing is one of the 50 aircraft re-registered under the Russian flag. It is the first plane since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022. These jets have ties with high-level Russian artistrocrats.
The jet owned by Yevtushenkov bore the logo of his telecom-to-timber company, AFK Sistema. Yevtushenkov has ceded ownership of the jet after the United Kingdom imposed sanctions on him. However, he remains the main shareholder of AFK Sistema.
Rosaviatsiya, the Russian Aviation Authority, and the Ministry of Transport have not commented on the jet voyages. There are currently no indiscretions by the companies owning these aircraft.
Few Jets Are Left Stranded
The regions of Aruba and the Isle of Man had imposed Western-approved sanctions. Thus, it became difficult for Russian-owned planes to source fuel, insurance, and permits.
Putting the Russian flag on private aircraft allows these jets to fly into countries that have not imposed bans on them. It also allows individual travellers to fly to countries such as Turkey and Dubai.
At present, the total number of private aircraft is 145. It is a big jump from 97, calculated in early March 2022.
As per sanctions, Russian aircraft cannot land in any EU nation.
History of Sistema Aircraft
The Boeing 737 was photographed last year in Prague with Aruba markings and the Sistema logo. It held registration ID P4-AFK.
A year after the war started, the same craft landed in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. It had a Russian registration ID, RA-73890, and the Sistema logo was no longer there. The United States added the craft to its sanctions this November.
Between 2020 and the early Ukraine invasion, the aircraft made several trips to Germany, Luxembourg, Switzerland, and the Maldives. It also made single trips to Croatia, the Czech Republic, and the Seychelles.
The aircraft travelled 105 times across Russia, 17 times across France, and eight times across Italy, the UAE, and Latvia. The Sistema aircraft also travelled five times across Britain and four times across Turkey.
After 2022 and the imposition of sanctions, the aircraft flew primarily across the UAE, Turkey, and Kazakhstan. It avoided any EU-based destinations. During that time, the aircraft travelled only 14 times.
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