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12. July 2021
by Varun Sharma
Founded in 1923 and for so long the butt of aerospace jokes for its poor service record, Russia’s national airline has been quietly raising its game, aiming to be one of the top European carriers.
With its centenary just around the corner, Aeroflot is in the middle of revamp which will see comfort, time-keeping and the all-round customer service its watchwords.
Aeroflot is based at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport and while its majority shareholder is the Russian government, 49% of the shares are listed on Moscow’s stock exchange.
The secret to its gathering success has been to buy only Boeing and Airbus aircraft and apportion its fleet of Russian-made Sukhoi SJ100s to its low-cost, mainly domestic, carrier – Rossiya – which it hopes to complete by the end of this year. This will leave it currently with 149 aircraft to fly its international routes. The airline now flies one of the youngest fleets in the world – at just 5.9 years per aircraft.
The airline’s Strategy-2028 – the year it plans to be one of the world’s leading airlines – highlights the key to its success – its fleet.
There are currently six aircraft types in Aeroflot’s fleet, it will be cut down to three types. At present, the widebody segment is represented by Airbus A330, A350 and Boeing 777 aircraft. Single-aisle fleet includes both Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 (in addition to the SJ100s). With modernisation, the aircraft types will be reduced to three – the Airbus A320neo family, A350-900, and Boeing 777-300.
The Airbus A320neo cabin is configured with 12 Business Class seats each offering 96.5-centimetre (38 inches) pitch. Each one features a 13-inch HD monitor, USB and power sockets and boasts premium Jacquard upholstery. High-speed Wi-Fi is also on offer. The Business Class galleys are equipped with Nespresso machines and wine cooler.
Aeroflot’s A350-900 will offer 28 seats in Business Class – all featuring a 2-metre lie-flat bed in a unique 1-2-1 layout. This widebody aircraft – 22 on order – will fly long-haul routes. It will also offer Comfort Class – a premium economy product. The Business Class suite features a closing door that creates privacy. They also boast 21-inch screens and a multimedia system with high-speed Internet.
Finally, the Boeing 777-300ER – the largest aircraft in the fleet – will offer 28 Business Class seats in a 1-2-1 configuration and 24 seats in Comfort Class in a 2-4-2 configuration – tailored to Aeroflot’s specification. Surprisingly, the B777-300ER will offer reverse herringbone Business Class seats rather than the private suites featured on the A350-900.
Of course, the quality of the entire Aeroflot experience – from the airport to inflight service – is what the airline will be judged on but if it does hit all the goals set out in its Strategy-2028, Aeroflot will be one of the most revered airline in the world.
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