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Fewest Deaths in Russian Plane Crashes in 2023 Compared to Last 10 Years

Fewest Deaths in Russian Plane Crashes in 2023 Compared to Last 10 Years
Fewest Deaths in Russian Plane Crashes in 2023 Compared to Last 10 Years

Despite Western sanctions targeting Russia’s aviation industry in response to its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the number of fatalities in plane crashes in Russia reached a decade low in 2023, according to data from the Interstate Aviation Committee (IAC).

These sanctions included a ban on supplying spare parts and services for Russian airlines, raising concerns about flight safety. However, the IAC’s oversight of accident investigations revealed that both 2022 and 2023 were among the safest years in the past decade for Russian aviation.

In 2023, there were 11 deadly accidents in Russia, resulting in a total of 20 fatalities, a decrease of four fatalities compared to 2022, as reported by the IAC. However, this data does not account for incidents involving “illegal interference” with civilian aircraft, such as the crash that killed mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin and ten others in August 2023. The Kremlin hinted at the possibility of deliberate downing, but the results of the investigation have not been made public.

Fewest Deaths in Russian Plane Crashes in 2023 Compared to Last 10 Years

Fewest Deaths in Russian Plane Crashes in 2023 Compared to Last 10 Years (Credits: Financial Times)

Despite the decrease in fatalities, challenges remain for Russia’s aviation industry. Russian planemakers are working to compensate for the gaps left by foreign manufacturers due to the sanctions. Additionally, the total number of flights in Russia decreased to 966,000 in 2023 from a pre-pandemic high of 1.12 million in 2019, according to Russia’s aviation watchdog Rosaviatsiya. Nonetheless, the total number of passengers carried in 2023 was reported at 105.4 million.

The IAC, which operates across former Soviet republics including Russia, highlighted that from 2014 to 2021, at least 30 people were killed in plane crashes in Russia each year. The deadliest year within this period was 2018, with 128 fatalities. Notably, the IAC did not release a report for 2019, the year when a Russian-made Sukhoi Superjet crashed at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport, claiming 41 lives.

While the imposition of Western sanctions raised concerns about flight safety in Russia, the data from the IAC suggests that 2022 and 2023 saw a notable improvement in aviation safety, marked by a decrease in fatalities compared to previous years. However, challenges persist, including the need for Russian aviation industry to address gaps in manufacturing caused by the sanctions, as well as ongoing efforts to ensure the security and integrity of civilian aircraft operations in the region.

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