An employee at Sheremetyevo International Airport in Moscow, Russia, on July 8, 2019.

Sanction-hit Russian airlines are getting plane parts delivered in hand luggage, per the Financial Times.A Middle East company has sent¬†$1.5 million of goods to Russia’s S7 airline, the FT reported.Flight safety incidents involving Russian planes have shot up, according to estimates.

Passengers are carrying plane parts in their luggage to get them to sanction-hit Russian airlines, according to the Financial Times.

Russian airlines are obtaining plane parts through a vast network of small suppliers, many of which are based in the United Arab Emirates, the FT reported.

The outlet highlighted one incident from mid-2022 when staff at a Moscow airport found a $40,000 plane part in a passenger’s luggage.¬†

The equipment was destined for Russia’s second-largest airline, S7, the FT reported, and was one of 11 similar parts sent in passenger bags to Moscow that year, all of them reported in customs forms.

In the wake of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022, Western countries imposed heavy sanctions and export controls on Russia’s aviation sector.

The sanctions have made it difficult for the country’s airlines to get their hands on new planes or parts to maintain their existing aircraft.

They have also opened up more unorthodox supply routes.

The FT cited Turboshaft, a UAE-based provider and exporter of aircraft parts run by a Russian-born businessman.

According to customs data seen by the outlet, Turboshaft has shipped $1.5 million of goods to S7 since the start of the war.

Turboshaft didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider, but a spokesperson for company boss Timur Badr told the FT that it had stopped providing plane parts to Russia in February 2022 and that it was “aware of, and respectful of, the international sanctions regime.”

According to data collected by the FT from various sources, S7 and its subsidiaries saw their imports of plane parts drop from over $100 million a month in December 2021 to less than $25 million a month in April 2022.

Meanwhile, the number of flight safety incidents involving Russian planes has more than doubled, from 37 in 2022 to 81 in 2023, according to the Jet Airliner Crash Data Evaluation Centre.

Those figures also only reflect known cases, the center’s founder and CEO, Jan-Arwed Richter, told The Telegraph earlier this year, adding: “There is still a dark figure of unreported incidents.”

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