Turkey’s Havas may stop services to Russian airlines’ U.S.-made planes -letter

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(Reuters) – Turkey’s airport ground service provider Havas told Russian and Belarusian airliners that it may stop providing services to their United States-origin aircraft, in line with Western sanctions against Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.

A Havas letter dated Jan. 31 and seen by Reuters, with the subject line of “potential restrictions on Boeing aircraft”, was sent days before U.S. officials met Turkish government and private sector officials to urge cooperation with U.S. curbs on Russia.

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The Havas letter mentioned “some or all flights” of Russian and Belarusian airlines’ aircraft that contain more than 25% of U.S. origin technology. Russian forces used Belarus as a launch pad for their abortive attack on the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, at the start of the war nearly a year ago but Belarus has ruled out joining the conflict.

Havas said the Turkish aviation industry received warning letters from the U.S. Department of Commerce, and the letter was to respond to U.S. export controls related to the Ukraine war.

“In that respect, we are running a due-dilligence process to identify risks and consequences to our business and stakeholders. As a result of this, we may find ourselves unable to serve some or all of your flights,” the Havas letter said.

As part of sweeping Western sanctions and export controls on Moscow, the United States restricted licensing, parts and services – from new airframes and engines to cupholders and fuel – on planes of U.S. origin like Boeing jets, or that contain up to 25% U.S. materials.

Havas asked Russian and Belarusian airlines for a list of aircraft that contain less than 25% of U.S. origin technology, advising them to plan flights to be operated with those planes.

Havas will only serve aircraft that contain less than 25% of U.S. origin technology, in the case that U.S. authorities issue an order denying export privileges to the airline operating the flight, it said.

Havas, Turkey’s largest airport ground services provider, operates in many airports including the biggest cities Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir and Antalya.

In December, officials from the U.S. administration held a two-day workshop in Turkey to warn Turkish companies that they could be breaching U.S. war-time restrictions on Moscow when they provide an array of services to arriving Russian aircraft including handling, refuelling and new parts at airports.

Reporting by Jonathan Spicer; Writing by Huseyin Hayatsever; Editing by Grant McCool

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