ATW had this story today reporting how Aeroflot is seeing strong traffic growth. As the story illustrates, several of Russia’s airlines are experiencing good traffic growth. The collapse of some Russian airlines helped the survivors to improve their traffic volume and revenues.
We have written about Aeroflot’s fleet before. Here is an update.
The airline experienced hard times between 2000 and 2008. There were clearly significant disruptions as Russia went through adjustments from Soviet times. But from the 2008 low point, the airline has seen steady fleet growth, year after year. It is now within striking distance of its 2000 fleet size.
Perhaps the most significant aspect of the fleet change has been the move to western aircraft. With newer aircraft, the airline has been able to lower its MRO and fuel burn costs. It has also been able to compete better with other airlines, especially from the EU. In 2011 Aeroflot joined the SkyTeam alliance.
The fleet switch as quite radical as seen the next chart; 2007/8 was the watershed period. Note the comeback of the Russian aviation sector though in the form of the Sukhoi SU-95 from 2011 onwards.
The need for a regional jet in the Russian market is obvious. There are large distances between small communities and a weather pattern that makes travel by road difficult. Many roads do not have paving. Aviation is the only solution.
As of year-end 2017, Aeroflot flew the largest SU-95 fleet, followed by Mexico’s InterJet. While the state-owned airline can be expected to buy a state-supported aircraft, Aeroflot’s relationship with the SU-95 wasn’t easy. (Aeroflot was the launch customer) With the back and forth between Sukhoi and Aeroflot, the airline remains committed to the aircraft. Which augurs well for Russia’s sole aircraft OEM and its forthcoming MC-21.
Looking at the airline’s fleet over the past several years, we can see that is maintained steady fleet update process. Overall the fleet as of 1Q18 is about five years old on average.
Aeroflot’s fleet planners remain active in the market. So the trend appears to be sustained.
Aeroflot today is a quite different airline than it was only a decade ago.