Rossiya, one of Russia’s main airlines, will start idling about one-third of its pilots flying Airbus, Kommersant writes, citing an order issued by the airline's deputy HR director. The measure is justified by the need “to avoid mass layoffs”, but trade unions presume that the true motivation is the desire to save parts for European planes.
According to Kommersant, up to 100 pilots will suffer from forced downtime due to “emergency circumstances affecting the airline’s operational activity”. The standby period has been scheduled from January 1 to March 31. Rossiya's aircraft pool includes 31 Boeing planes of various models and 26 Airbus A320/A319, of which four are not flightworthy.
As the newspaper learned from a source, pilots will be asked to idle temporarily on a monthly basis, while receiving two-thirds of their salary. Alternative sources suggest downtime on a weekly basis.
Trade unions interpret this step as “discriminating”, considering that it only concerns Airbus pilots. According to Oksana Vlasenko, the chair of the Interregional Trade Union of Pilots, these planes get an average of 50-70 flight hours a month, which is comparable to the Boeings.
The president of the Sheremetyevo Flight Personnel Trade Union, Igor Deldyuzhov, believes it has to do with the fact that procuring spare parts for a Boeing is easier.
When Russia invaded Ukraine, Airbus and Boeing stopped supplying parts for their planes in Russia. As Reuters reported in August citing its sources, Russian airlines, including Aeroflot, had started stripping planes for parts. In October, Russia's Ministry of Transport was reported to be making plans for authorizing the procurement of non-authentic plane parts.