Senior U.S. officials have allegedly warned that Turkey could face repercussions if they provide spare aircraft parts and other services for Russian airlines in violation of an export ban imposed by the Biden administration in February 2022.
According to a report in the WSJ, Assistant Secretary of Commerce Thea Rozman Kendler delivered the warning during a meeting with Turkish officials in Ankara last December.
The Department of Commerce declined to comment on the specifics of any warnings issued to foreign governments or individuals. The department did, however, say that foreign aviation companies have recently been reminded of their legal obligation to comply with the sanctions.
“This action and ongoing engagement like Assistant Secretary Kendler’s visit is important to U.S. efforts to ensure understanding of our controls, encourage partnership and compliance, and to share information,” a spokesperson for the Commerce Department told the WSJ.
Russian airlines have continued to fly American and European-made aircraft in defiance of Western sanctions that all but completely prohibit the export of spare parts and other key services designed to keep Boeing and Airbus jets safe and airworthy.
Russia has attempted to circumvent the sanctions by producing some spare parts domestically, but it’s believed that some aviation companies in countries that have retained diplomatic links with Moscow are continuing to supply Russia’s airline industry.
Russian flag carrier Aeroflot continues to operate regularly scheduled flights to Istanbul from Moscow, Sochi, St Petersburg and Yekaterinburg. The airline also regularly flies to the popular Turkish holiday destination of Antalya.
At some point, analysts have warned that the U.S. will have to take enforcement action against individuals found to be breaching the sanctions. Such action could include hefty fines or even jail time for individuals found guilty of ignoring the Biden administration’s export ban on American spare parts.
Russian airlines have been barred from flying to the United States and Europe, as well as a slew of other countries, including Canada, but Aeroflot and other Russian carriers have successfully shifted their operations to friendly countries such as the United Arab Emirates, India, Thailand and the Maldives.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.