The government has passed an order amending the customs tariffs for aircraft imported into Russia. Customs duties for aircraft with between 50 and 300 seats remain at the previous level of 20%. However, a 0% customs duty was introduced for certain cargo aircraft.
A new policy regarding the acceptance of commercial aircraft for registration and certification in Bermuda affects cross-border leases into Russia. At the request of the Russian Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), commercial aircraft over 10 years old that are offered for registration and certification in Bermuda by a Russian airline must first be accepted by the CAA.
When a foreign-owned aircraft is leased by a Russian airline, it is imported under the temporary import customs regime, which allows for the deferment of import duties and taxes. However, violation of the regime may result in a fine of up to 200% of the aircraft's customs value and the confiscation of the aircraft, despite the fact that the importing airline is not the owner. A recent case illustrates the risk for lessors.
The new Law on State Registration of Rights to Aircraft and Related Transactions provides for the establishment of a unified registry of rights to aircraft. Among other things, it includes a procedure for registration, details of the documentation required and possible grounds for suspension or refusal.
The Committee on the Improvement of Sustainable Economic Development has approved a list of core Russian companies - including six airlines - which are of strategic national importance. The committee's working group will review the airlines and prepare plans for their rehabilitation, but inclusion on the list is not a guarantee of financial support.
A recent resolution makes permanent the temporary 0% customs duty rate for imports of civil aircraft with over 300 passenger seats and a basic operating weight of over 15,000 kilograms. However, it remains to be seen whether airlines are prepared to commit to operating more large aircraft in a market poised for further downturn.
The Bermuda register has been widely used to facilitate the operation of commercial aircraft in Russia, but Bermuda's Department of Civil Aviation has suspended registration of commercial air transport aircraft. Whether or not this prompts changes to the Russian register and related laws, Russian airlines must restructure their financing and leasing arrangements.
President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree on the establishment of a joint stock company to be known as the United Aircraft Construction Corporation. The state will hold not less than 75% of the shares in the corporation. The merger of aircraft construction companies is expected to increase annual production of civil aircraft from nine to 120 over the next seven years.