Aeroflot has just placed its largest aircraft order ever, and it’s entirely for Russian-built planes.
Aeroflot refreshing fleet with Russian planes
Aeroflot Group and United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) have signed an agreement for the purchase of 339 Russian-built planes. This deal includes the following aircraft:
- 210 Irkut MC-21
- 89 Sukhoi Superjet New
- 40 Tupolev Tu-214
This deal is worth $16 billion at list prices, and was signed at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok. The Russian government will help with financing for this order.
These planes are expected to join Aeroflot’s fleet between 2023 and 2030, with the first Sukhoi planes being delivered in 2023, and the first Irkut and Tupolev planes being delivered in 2024. The planes are intended for all Aeroflot Group airlines, including Aeroflot, Rossiya, and Pobeda.
Here’s how Sergey Alexandrovsky, Aeroflot’s CEO, describes this order:
“Today we signed the largest agreement on the acquisition of domestic aircraft in the recent history of Aeroflot. This is an important step that sets the stimulus and influences the prospects for the development of civil aviation in Russia.”
“Signing of this agreement clearly demonstrates to the whole world that Russia is a great aviation power with great potential and rich experience in the field of aircraft construction, capable of producing reliable and modern aircraft.”
The CEO of the parent company of UAC believes that the MC-21 will soon “become the flagship aircraft” of the Aeroflot fleet, and also notes that “all aircraft will be delivered in an import-substituted form, with Russian-made on-board systems and units.”
My take on Aeroflot’s aircraft order
It goes without saying that if Aeroflot wanted to refresh its fleet, acquiring Russian-built aircraft was the only option. There’s an embargo in place that prevents Airbus and Boeing from selling planes to Russian airlines, and for that matter the airline can’t even easily get foreign parts anymore.
I can’t help but chuckle at the statement from Aeroflot’s CEO, claiming that this order “clearly demonstrates to the whole world that Russia is a great aviation power with great potential and rich experience in the field of aircraft construction, capable of producing reliable and modern aircraft.”
I mean, maybe he can make that statement in 2030 after these planes have been in service for so long, but how does a theoretical order with future deliveries demonstrate that these planes are reliable?
Aeroflot is majority owned by the government, but despite that, the airline has historically primarily flown Airbus and Boeing aircraft, rather than planes produced domestically. What does that tell you about how reliable and modern Aeroflot management thinks these planes are?
It’s also noteworthy how Russia doesn’t really have any “modern” wide body jets, so those aren’t part of this order. Then again, I suppose the need for wide body jets will be more limited without international travel (though flying from one end of Russia to the other can take over eight hours).
I’m curious to see what comes of all of this, and how well and fast Russian aircraft manufacturers can actually produce planes without foreign parts. One thing is for sure — if the situation with Russia does ever normalize, there will be quite some avgeek opportunities in the country!
Aeroflot has just placed an order for 339 jets that are produced in Russia, which the airline plans to take delivery of between 2023 and 2030. With sanctions in place, Aeroflot can no longer order Airbus and Boeing jets, and is even having issues getting spare parts for existing planes.
Since it seems like the current Russia situation won’t be improving any time soon, Aeroflot is now all-in on Russian-built planes. However, I’m not sure this agreement “clearly demonstrates to the whole world that Russia is a great aviation power,” as is claimed.
What do you make of Aeroflot’s huge aircraft order?