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Turkey refused to train Russian pilots. They will become professionally unfit, experts say

Russian pilots will no longer be able to undergo flight simulation training (FSTD) at the Turkish Airlines training center. The center has sent a notice to that effect, according to the Telegram channel Aviatorshchina. A Russian airline pilot confirmed to The Insider the authenticity of the letter.

It says that due to the tightening of sanctions imposed by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), the Turkish Airlines training center has to stop working with airlines from Russia, as all FSTD simulators need EASA approval.

According to aviation experts interviewed by The Insider, Turkish Airlines will soon be followed by other training centers to avoid falling under secondary sanctions, which apply to anyone who will assist or simply continue to cooperate with Russian civil aviation organizations. If an aviation training center in Turkey has an EASA certificate for pilot training, it can only be revoked for cooperation with airlines from Russia. This applies not only to Turkey, but to any individual or organization around the world, two aviation experts speaking on condition of anonymity told The Insider.

“There is a possibility that the Turkish Airlines training center will not be the only one to deny training to Russian airline pilots. It is clear that there are airline training centers in the Middle East airlines, which has not yet joined the sanctions, so an Emirates center might train our pilots. It's farther away and probably more expensive, provided Emirates doesn't resort to price dumping,” the expert said.

According to the interviewees, Turkey's refusal is a serious blow to the system of pilot training and skill maintenance in Russia, because pilots used to train on simulators that are no longer available in Russia since Europe's been cut off. Even with regular flights all pilots have to undergo constant training on special simulators corresponding to the types of aircraft. Russia has simulators for the most common types of Airbus A320 and Boeing B737 long-haul aircraft.

“But there are no simulators in Russia for the long haul types such as Boeing B777. Even if airworthy B777s are available, they cannot be flown safely without such training. Pilots for this particular type of aircraft will lose their qualifications and will not be permitted to fly them in accordance with Russian aviation regulations. This also applies to other types of foreign aircraft that soon may also be left without qualified pilots. For example, for the newest Airbus A350, which only Aeroflot has, there is not a single simulator in the Russian Federation.”

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