What is now known as Aeroflot Russian Airlines was born in 1923, on the 9th of February, and commenced operations on the 15th of July of the same year, with flights between Moscow and Nizhni Novgorod, making Russia one of the first countries in the world to have regular flights.
Before the end of the 1930s, Aeroflot had over 4,000 pilots flying about 3,000 aircraft, with an additional 60,000 service personnel, making it world’s largest airline of that time.
On the 15th of September 1956, Aeroflot became the first one in the world to operate regular jet services, using the Tupolev Tu-104, and remained the only airline operating jets until 1958.
Aeroflot carried its 100 millionth passenger in 1976.
Between September 15, 1983, and August 2, 1990, Aeroflot flights to and from the United States were discontinued, after Ronald Reagan revoked the company’s license.
In 1992, two years before being registered as a joint stock company, Aeroflot got divided into no less than 300 regional airlines, including international operators like Lithuanian Airlines or Uzbekistan Airlines.
In the year 2000, the name was changed from Aeroflot to Aeroflot – Russian Airlines.
Six years later, Aeroflot Russian Airlines joined the SkyTeam alliance, being the first operator in the former Soviet Union to do so.
In May 2009, it was announced that the Aeroflot Russian Airlines board is considering to liquidate its cargo division, although back in 2006, it carried 145,300 tons of mail and cargo, next to no less than 7,290,000 passengers.
During its long history, Aeroflot Russian Airlines also performed aeromedical, crop-dusting, exploration services, and even ice patrol in the Arctic Ocean, sometimes using helicopters to haul cargo, including world’s heaviest helicopter, the Mi-26.
In 2009, to meet the needs of its passengers, Terminal D at Sheremetyevo Airport, the hub of Aeroflot designed to serve Aeroflot’s flights as well as those of its SkyTeam partners, came into service. For passengers’ convenience, it offers 143 check-in counters and 6 lounges, 5 children’s rooms, 18 catering, 25 shops establishments and many other services.
In February 2010, the Russian government announced that all regional airlines owned by the state through the holding company Rostechnologii would be consolidated with the national carrier Aeroflot in order to increase the airlines’ financial viability. The merger was completed in late November 2011. Aeroflot’s subsidiary, Aeroflot – Finance, became the major shareholder of Saravia, Rossiya Airlines and Vladivostok Avia, and the sole shareholder of both SAT Airlines and Orenair.
Since 2011, Aeroflot has been receiving Sukhoi SuperJet-100 new-generation Russian-built aircraft. Aeroflot Group, considering its growth prospects, plans to acquire a total of 126 modern Russian-built aircraft of various types until 2020.
In September 2013, Aeroflot’s subsidiaries, Vladivostok Air and SAT Airlines, were combined into a new subsidiary regional carrier based in the Russian Far East. The subsidiary, 51%-owned by Aeroflot and originally named Taiga Airlines, changed its name to Aurora Airlines and links Moscow with the Russian Far East.
In 2013, Aeroflot received the first 4 of the 16 contracted Boeing B777-300ER aircraft that have a new COMFORT class of service. Since September, Aeroflot has been operating 4 new medium-haul Boeing B737 passenger aircraft. The company will receive another six Boeing B777-300ER and four new B737 aircraft in 2014.
Under the Summer schedule of 2014, Aeroflot operates flights to 121 destinations in 52 countries (41 destinations in Russia) through its hub at Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow.
In August 2014, Aeroflot announced it will launch a new LCC (low-cost carrier) that will replace Dobrolet, which ceased operations on 4 August 2014 owing to EU sanctions, and will use aircraft transferred from Orenair.
In September 2015, Aeroflot agreed to acquire for the symbolic price of one ruble 75% of Transaero Airlines but abandoned the plan after failing to come to terms on the takeover. Instead, the airline assumed some of Transaero’s leases, taking over a number of its aircraft and thus introducing the Boeing B747 and B777 aircraft to the Aeroflot fleet. Consequently, Aeroflot canceled some of its jet orders, such as 22 Boeing B787 Dreamliners.
In March 2016, Aeroflot combined the operations of three of its subsidiaries Rossiya Airlines, Donavia, and Orenair. The entire fleet of both airlines was reassigned to Rossiya.In 2016, Aeroflot Russian Airlines has been awarded the 4-star Airline status by Skytrax, the leading independent authority on airline quality.
In 2017, at the Skytrax World Airline Awards, Aeroflot was named, for the fifth time in a row, Best Airline in Eastern Europe.
In 2018, Aeroflot took delivery of six aircraft, two Boeing B737 800, three Airbus A320 and one Airbus A321, its fleet reaching 233 aircraft and an average age of 4.1 years.
Since 1953, Aeroflot Russian Airlines aircraft have been involved in 127 accidents, with 6,875 fatalities, and 20 victims on the ground. However, since 2000, only one fatal accident occurred in 2008, when Aeroflot Flight 821 crashed on approach to Perm International Airport killing all 88 passengers, including 6 crew members.