Monday, July 12, 2010

Aeroflot should use only Russian aircraft in its fleet, and set an example for other airlines

I second Putin's disappointment (here, here, and here) at Aeroflot's fleet expansion plans that include huge orders for Airbus and Boeing airplanes, but none for any Russian/Ukrainian plane (barring the Sukhoi Superjet 100 order, which pales in comparison to the Airbus and Boeing orders).

Aeroflot has to realize (or has to be made to realize) that its role is wider than of a for-profit company in the Russian Federation. Aeroflot is the de facto national airline of Russia, and its fleet is going to be looked at by both Eastern and Western airlines. If Aeroflot doesn't rely on Russian-made aircraft, the disastrous impression that this will leave on the potential customers of Russian-made aircraft is hard to underestimate.

Aeroflot Il-96 taking-off from Salzburg, Austria (source)

I'm (cautiously) hopeful that the newest breed of UAC aircraft - An-148, Il-96, MS-21, Superjet 100, Tu-334 and other cargo/special-purpose planes can fulfill at least many of Aeroflot's requirements (and Aeroflot might want to lease a few aircraft till its Russian-made aircraft are delivered). Aeroflot should adopt these fine aircraft with open arms, maintain these well (and thus prove to the world that with proper maintenance, the latest breed of Russian/Ukrainian aircraft perform as beautifully as the stewardesses of this fine airline), and set an example for other airlines to follow.

Update (16-Jul-10): And lo, the opening sentence of this 15-Jul-10 story on Aviation Week says exactly what I'm trying to say above.

Update (18-Jul-10): Not very happy to read that Aeroflot has ordered a bunch of A330 aircraft

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