Situated on the Atlantic Ocean, Gabon in Central Africa was the main supplier last year to Russia of spare parts for airplanes amid sanctions, the Moscow Times reported, citing official customs records. 

Ter Assala Parts in Gabon supposedly exported $1.5 billion worth of spare parts in 2023 to Russia.

The company isn’t listed in the country’s publically available commercial register and its address is registered at a plain residential address.

Amid its unprovoked war against Ukraine, Russia has struggled to maintain its commercial aircraft, especially ones bought a while ago from Airbus and Boeing, who are respectively based in the European Union and the United States.

Citing customs records, the Moscow Times said that Gabon in particular imported “15 used engines for the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320/A321 for more than $58 million,” which were then forwarded along to Russia.


Sanctions for Russia’s war mongering have hampered Moscow’s ability to manufacture new airplanes, a Newsweek article said this month. Russia’s state-owned Rostec’s subsidiary, United Aircraft Corporation, has also said it won’t meet its manufacturing goals for 2025-2026, according to Russian Aviation Insider. Two models of its planes won’t be delivered to Russia’s main airline, Aeroflot.

Last year, Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin ordered the country’s aviation industry to build 1,000 domestic route airliners a year by 2030. Meanwhile, Rostec defense conglomerate chief Sergey Chemezov said that three domestic corporations in charge of production won’t start building them until 2025-2026.

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“Tests are not yet completed. As soon as we complete the tests, we will immediately see the results,” he said. “We are still worried about the safety of all of us—we will fly on these planes,” he said as cited by the Moscow Times.

Mechanical failures have become common on Russian passenger planes as sanctions limit Moscow’s options to maintenance them.


In December alone, at least eight serious mechanical failures caused pilots to make emergency landings, a Washington Post article said in January.

“Nearly two years of sanctions over the war in Ukraine have left airlines struggling to obtain vital parts and, as a result, shortcutting safety standards – in some cases with government approval,” the article said.

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