Five air carriers in Russia have returned 31 leased aircraft to foreign lessors, revealed a Rosaviatsia document cited by Reuters.

According to the document, Rosaviatsia was notified that charter airlines Azur Air, iFly, Nordwind, Pegas Fly and Royal Flight had kept their aircraft outside Russia.

However, the document did not provide any detail on why the airlines did so.

Planes run by these airlines are based in the US, Turkey, Europe, and the Middle East, Reuters reported citing the Planespotters aircraft tracking website. These planes did not return to Russia after 27 February, noted the website.

None of the concerned carriers commented on the matter.

Rosaviatsia’s document dated 9 March said: “Jets of some operators… with foreign registration are currently located at foreign airfields, including in Turkey, in order to transfer them to the lessors on the pre-text of maintenance.”

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Sanctions imposed by Western countries on Moscow following its invasion of Ukraine has led to suspension in the supply of plane parts, aircraft and maintenance services.

In a retaliatory move, Russia passed a new law in March this year, enabling the country’s airlines to register leased planes from foreign firms.

Currently, about 400 leased jets are still stranded in Russia, stated Reuters citing Russian transportation minister Vitaly Savelyev.

Another 78 jets were confiscated while being outside the country, as per the minister. In April this year, US-based aircraft lessor Air Lease Corporation said that it will write off interests in its owned and managed jets fleet stuck in Russia.