Desperate: Aeroflot Sets Up Sochi International Hub

Desperate: Aeroflot Sets Up Sochi International Hub

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In early March it was announced that Aeroflot would be suspending international flights. Well, the airline will shortly be bringing back international flights, but it’ll look nothing like pre-pandemic.

Aeroflot’s new Sochi international hub

Starting April 7, 2022, Aeroflot will begin operating international flights out of Sochi (AER), with tickets now on sale. The airline will fly from Sochi to 17 destinations in six countries. Those countries will include Armenia, Egypt, Israel, Kazakhstan, Turkey, and Uzbekistan.

Sochi isn’t exactly a huge market, so these flights will be focused on transit passengers, and in particular those traveling from Moscow, Saint Petersburg, etc.

These flights will operated by Rossiya Airlines, which is a subsidiary of Aeroflot. Rossiya will be using Russian-built Sukhoi Superjet 100s for for these flights, with 10 of these planes expected to be based at the airport. All of these planes used to fly for Aeroflot, but were transferred over to the carrier’s subsidiary as part of a transformation plan initially announced in 2020.

The airline plans to see how these routes do, and then adjust its network accordingly.

Rossiya Sukhoi Superjet (credit to Anna Zvereva)

Aeroflot’s interesting logic for a Sochi hub

While Aeroflot will no longer be flying Airbus A350s to Miami, you can fly a Sukhoi Superjet to Aktobe. What exactly is going on here, and why is Aeroflot bringing back international flights in this way?

Well, Aeroflot ended up suspending international flights for a couple of reasons:

How does that explain Aeroflot starting international flights out of Sochi?

  • The Sukhoi Superjets are built in Russia and aren’t owned by foreign leasing companies, so clearly Aeroflot feels it can fly these planes without risk of them being seized internationally, especially since the countries getting flights are largely allies of Russia
  • The challenge is that the Sukhoi Superjet isn’t exactly a very capable plane, and has a range of just ~1,800 miles
  • Sochi is in south of Russia, and most of the airspace open to Russia is to the south of the country, so this lets the airline operate to these destinations within the range of the aircraft; for example, Sochi to Cairo is ~1,030 miles, while Moscow to Cairo is ~1,800 miles, with the latter being beyond the practical range of the Sukhoi Superjet
Sochi has better geography for current international flights

While this will work for some amount of time, there is one major challenge in the long run. While the Sukhoi Superjet is built in Russia, many of the parts are from foreign countries. With sanctions in place, Russia won’t have access to many spare parts.

You can expect that the airline will essentially have to use some planes for spare parts, and over time the fleet will get smaller and smaller.

Bottom line

Aeroflot subsidiary Rossiya will be resuming international flights as of early April, flying to 17 destinations in six countries. Specifically, the airline is setting up a hub in Sochi, and will fly Sukhoi Superjets to select countries without sanctions against Russia.

The logic here is that Sukhoi Superjets aren’t being leased from foreign companies. However, given the plane’s limited range, setting up a hub in Sochi makes the most sense, since it’s closer to many of the destinations that will be served.

What do you make of Aeroflot’s strategy for resuming international flights?

Conversations (58)
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  1. Levin Yeo Guest

    It was explained that while major cities are hubs, they aren't always the outbound preferred airport. For example, Guangzhou is China's biggest outbound airport: from CAN they can go SZX HKG MFM to get the cheapest fares to holiday destinations in Hainan and Southeast Asia.

    This will be Honolulu and Orlando, for USA; Dublin, Lisbon, Athens, and Rome for EU. The destinations from which r/e cheapest fares are available. Sochi, is the home of Samaritans...

    It was explained that while major cities are hubs, they aren't always the outbound preferred airport. For example, Guangzhou is China's biggest outbound airport: from CAN they can go SZX HKG MFM to get the cheapest fares to holiday destinations in Hainan and Southeast Asia.

    This will be Honolulu and Orlando, for USA; Dublin, Lisbon, Athens, and Rome for EU. The destinations from which r/e cheapest fares are available. Sochi, is the home of Samaritans (from Samara), from the Bible, so these group of Russians are the most worldly, and a far better gateway into Russia rather than Moscow.

    As for Aeroflot, you'll be seeing Japan Airlines return the favor when Moscow permitted JAL to fly via Moscow, and allowed JAL to grow into Asia's world's largest airline.

    Aeroflot logo was NEVER a sickle and hammer: it was a blue crane! This assumption has led the West on a hysterical witch hunt of Russia, when they can't even see that Erdogan and Trudeau is currentlly turning Canada and Turkey into communist countries.

  2. Ganttc Guest

    Maybe they should find some folks from the now defunct Interjet to discuss the reliability of these planes!

  3. Heinous Guest

    Lessors of stolen planes could have these impounded in part compensation. They aren't worth much, relatively speaking, as there's no market for them in the West. But it works out a spammer in Tsar Putin's plans.

  4. Blik Guest

    If they built the plane , rest assured they can manage the parts too

  5. Tony W Guest

    Two main issues I see, firstly, it is common knowledge that Russian manufactured equipment has reliability issues. Recent news has shown the Russian war machine grinding to a halt without any outside intervention; radio systems failing, vehicles plagued with breakdowns and weapon systems malfunctioning, to the end that Russian troops are now employing tactics from 50 years ago and literally pummelling innocent civilians in the most inhumane and abhorrent ways to try to break the...

    Two main issues I see, firstly, it is common knowledge that Russian manufactured equipment has reliability issues. Recent news has shown the Russian war machine grinding to a halt without any outside intervention; radio systems failing, vehicles plagued with breakdowns and weapon systems malfunctioning, to the end that Russian troops are now employing tactics from 50 years ago and literally pummelling innocent civilians in the most inhumane and abhorrent ways to try to break the Ukraine.
    This is the mighty Russian armed forces that's had trillions of rubles pumped into it over the last decade to create what is now showing as the inept and corrupt force it was during the cold War.
    So any suggestions that an airline could be risen from the ashes and maintained while being viable and airworthy, using cobbled together parts, is just laughable.. except I am not laughing!!
    It's ludicrous and will put the lives of Russian civilians (and anyone else crazy enough to use them) In danger..
    The only saving grace is many of the countries that currently allow Russian planes fly into their airspace and use their airports, may start to think twice.
    For any airport, having a crashed and burning jet on your runway is both costly and could render it unusable for weeks.
    Russia, like many other countries has relied upon imports for many of its consumables, this includes aircraft parts for home produced planes. Like many manufacturers, they will have relied upon COTs items for their planes, with parts coming from all over the world.
    It's a disaster just waiting to happen.

  6. L. Wexley Guest

    Aeroflop has added Sri Lanka. Hope they repossess those planes when they land there.

    https://www.aeroflot.ru/us-en/news

  7. Chas Guest

    This is a lost cause. When the first plane crashes that will bring an end to all flights to Russia. All Putin's gotta do is get the Fuq out of Ukraine and hand them back their entire country. Thieving SOB.

    1. John Guest

      @ Karo

      Another war apologist.

    2. Karo Member

      John, how many languages do you speak and comprehend freely to be able to receive information from several sources?

    3. Boris Z. Guest

      Hopefully debris of crappie Suchoy "superjets" and stolen Airbuses without chance for minimum maintenance will fall on territory of their dysfunctional home - today's Russia.

    4. VL3 Guest

      did not know that you also get language courses at the Russian troll farms!!!

  8. ACR Guest

    OMG! I would NEVER get on a Russian built aircraft…but really? When will the Russian people WAKE UP???

    1. Chas Guest

      I had never even planned to even go to Russia. Unless it was an emergency landing and that still holds.

    2. Karo Member

      @ACR
      You may be surprised but they ask the same question about Americans and Europeans

    3. Theatre33 Guest

      Are you on a salary or pay-per-view?

    4. Chuck Guest

      I've flown it, my first time was a scary experience. But it flies like any regular plane.

    5. Dale Nulik Guest

      Russia has excellant engineers! Boeing has used over 1000's of russian engineered parts. It's possiable the corruption of the procurements?

  9. Steve A Guest

    I would imagine that Western leasing companies will go to court to get court orders to sieze Rossiya aircraft for non-payment of leases by parent company Aeroflot.

    1. Eskimo Guest

      Don't forget, they will have to seize SSJ. Who want's SSJ anyway. So they can lend it to another Russian carrier?

      Not only that, but seizing non collateral might lead to bigger problems for the average person who defaulted.

  10. Arie Guest

    This is a russian designed and made plane. While yes some parts are now made out of the country, the Russians are capable of making those parts in russia.

    1. VL3 Guest

      look it up, 60% of a SSJ is Western parts with all the important parts being Western

  11. D3kingg Guest

    Well it is what it is. A country needs transportation as part of their infrastructure. Russia is a massive country. I don’t see how starving an old retired Jewish couple of factory workers to death in Siberia helps Ukraine or stops Putin. Not their fault. And they don’t have the freedom to protest publicly in Moscow you can go to prison. Any armchair quarterbacks feel free to go to Moscow and demand Putin stop.

    1. Mh Diamond

      Making his people upset with their life and how he handles things is the greatest chance of getting it resolved; that's how.

      Letting them go on as normal means there's no internal pressure on him, and as seen he doesn't care about sanctions and diplomacy. I don't see how letting him kill thousands of innocent Ukrainians helps them.

    2. Slav Guest

      Clearly you've never read a history book. Have a quick look at how revolutions have happened in Russia in the past..

    3. Eskimo Guest

      History book says it was partly because Ras'putin' was a mad man who had too much power.

      What are the odds!

    4. Heinous Guest

      It's called economic warfare. Slower than conventional, but fewer deaths, and eventually can achieve its ends.
      If the Russian people don't like being inconvenienced, they can tell Tsar Putin to withdraw his troops from a peaceful neighbor.

  12. Kory Guest

    Aeroflot temporarily stopped flying internationally for a few days as it was widely announced but they’ve actually been running international flights to some of the ex-Soviet countries after the short pause (Yerevan/Aremenia, Bishkek/Kyrgyzstan, etc.)

  13. Jance Guest

    What some folks (including most Russians) fail to grasp is that we are just at the beginning of a new era. The world has changed. We ain't going back to business as usual with the Russian fascists. As the years go by, those planes the Russians have stolen are all going to end up grounded for lack of spare parts and deferred maintenance. That will take a while, but the world will be patient. Once...

    What some folks (including most Russians) fail to grasp is that we are just at the beginning of a new era. The world has changed. We ain't going back to business as usual with the Russian fascists. As the years go by, those planes the Russians have stolen are all going to end up grounded for lack of spare parts and deferred maintenance. That will take a while, but the world will be patient. Once Russia's stolen, un-maintained planes start crashing, passenger loads are going to drop anyway.

    1. Eskimo Guest

      Someone probably said the very same thing back in 1945 about the German fascists.

      Ironically, instead of German planes start crashing, German V2 rocket technologies took us all the way to the moon. VW and BMW are still well engineered vehicles.

      But thanks to many of those fascists scientist (some are even given US citizenship), we went explore space, the final frontier.

      I guess you also will NEVER FLY the 737MAX too.

    2. Correction Guest

      Eskimo - an entirely non-equivalent comparison. Germany in 1945 is nothing like Russia in 2022.

    3. D3kingg Guest

      @Eskimo @Endre

      From a military standpoint Russia is a joke compared to the German third reich. Ukraine will hold off Russia ultimately. Putin should have amassed all his military to the north in Belarus and then made one strike into Kiev. The invasion would have been over in two days.

    4. RS Guest

      To the point - India, China, Middle East, Africa, Latin America and some countries in Asia did not close their airspace and did not impose any sanctions. So, plenty of places to fly to from the new hub once logistics are figured out.

    5. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      "From a military standpoint Russia is a joke compared to the German third reich."

      ...it can't possibly be lost on you that "Russia" handed the Third Reich its largest military defeat, can it? J/w

    6. John Guest

      @ConcordePerson

      Does 'Lend-Lease', courtesy of USA to USSR mean anything to you? I thought not. USD$180 Billion worth of war materials in today's money from '41 to '45. Better look it up because notwithstanding the bravery of the soldiers, it was Lend-Lease which made materially possible the USSR's fight against Germany.

    7. Mh Diamond

      "Holding off" achieves nothing for the thousands of Ukrainians killed since he invaded in 2014 and continuing to be killed, the destruction of 100s of billions, and the lack of life for every Ukrainian. It just lets that continue as it is.

    8. Adams9802 Guest

      The only problem with that argument is that Russians have never come close to cracking the western markets with their “technology” Russia is not synonymous with quality.

    9. Karo Member

      @ Jance

      Yawn, total nonsense but I guess it fits your biases well. By the way, how would you call the locking down Russian gold and currency reserves?

    10. Bored reader with popcorn Guest

      So cute how all the epidemiology couch experts now turned into geopolitics and economics experts.

      On topic - so far China, India, Middle East, South America, Africa, and some Asian countries did not impose any sanctions and openly told the West to chill out. So, yeah, plenty of places to fly, once logistics are rebuit.

  14. Cy Guest

    Iran has been flying their planes under sanctions without ready access to spares for years and they haven’t been falling out of the sky…safety wise I think they will be fine

    1. Eskimo Guest

      The difference is Iran really being sanctioned by only one very big bully.

      For Iran, spare parts are just as hard as Kim buying a new Rolls Royce.
      Your "without ready access to spares" means just few weeks lead time passing through 2-3 countries and shell companies. So much for sanctions.

      I can hardly imagine Russia doing the same without scrutiny from rest of the world for the foreseeable future.

    2. Mantis Guest

      When you taking the side of Iran, Nazi Germany, and Russia, all of your crackpot delusional opinions can be safely ignored. You're seeing now a snapshot of how the world will not be a better place with the "big bully" US being weak and your wonderful CCP comrades dominating. Enjoy it, this is what you wanted.

    3. Eskimo Guest

      And this is why we have problems today. By not taking your side, you automatically assume they are taking side of Iran, Nazi Germany, and Russia. The world isn't about taking sides.

      Being a strong super power to maintain balance of power is one thing.
      Being a bully because you have a strong super power is a whole different problem.

    4. Juraj Member

      Nevertheless Iran used to operate a much older fleet, for which much fewer hi-tech parts were required, many could be manufactured in-house and some black market existed for ubiquitous aircraft types. Even so, their safety record was very spotty.
      None of this is true anymore for modern airliners. This will definitely be a safety concern.

  15. Nelson Member

    Turkey should have closed their airspace too! And as some one mentioned earlyer, in the near future I'll see russian birds fly out of the sky like stones. You just need to be stoned to book any russian Carrier at the time.

    1. Eskimo Guest

      And I would be glad to see some stoned blogger reviewing Russian trips in the near future. (Sam is the first stoner that comes to mind)

  16. Daniel Guest

    Clearly I am not an expert in international aircraft repossession, but I would think if a company owes you $X and is intentionally hiding the asset backing that loan in Russia, that you could repossess a similar aircraft owned by that company.

    1. Cedric Guest

      That’s what I would expect as well. On an other note, sounds like flying on a Russian plane will be like playing Russian roulette with all the maintenance issues…

    2. Eskimo Guest

      Clearly under the general rules of the law, you can't repossess items that isn't consider collateral. Think of this, if you're behind payments on your car, they can only take your car, they can't take your house.

      Now because Russia isn't really playing by the rules, who knows how far other countries would bend their laws.

    3. MH Guest

      I would actually say it is the west that isn't playing by the rules. Telling the leasing companies that they must stop working with Russia is what the problem is. Russia offered to pay for the leases in full, immediately, but the leasing companies rejected this. So if your customer wants to pay and you say no ....well tough titties. That isn't stealing in my book. Just arrogance.

    4. Never In Doubt Guest

      MH, Is being part of Putin’s troll army a paid or volunteer position?

    5. Eskimo Guest

      @MH

      Smell of fake news all over.
      Hah! Can you quote the sources where Russia offered to pay the leases in full?
      The most I've seen is trying to pay the leases in Rubles. I don't think any airline Russian or US really have surplus cash to pay off leases early.

      You are actually wrong. The West is playing by the rules. They however they are a big bully who decides to change...

      @MH

      Smell of fake news all over.
      Hah! Can you quote the sources where Russia offered to pay the leases in full?
      The most I've seen is trying to pay the leases in Rubles. I don't think any airline Russian or US really have surplus cash to pay off leases early.

      You are actually wrong. The West is playing by the rules. They however they are a big bully who decides to change the rule anytime. Like all those fine print that reserve the right to screw customers in every agreement that you agree to. The rules are and will always be rigged to benefit the bully.

    6. ConsAreTraitors Guest

      ¨Bully¨, yawn. Isn´t Russia a murderous regime? What do you suggest would be a more fitting response, if any?

    7. Andy Diamond

      Yes, in theory is possible to request through a court order to seize any asset. But it's much more complicated in case of owned assets than in the case of leased assets, in particular if the owned asset is located in a third country, neither in the country of the lessee nor the lessor. Just to illustrate the degree of difficulty involved: Think you lease a car in the US and own another car which...

      Yes, in theory is possible to request through a court order to seize any asset. But it's much more complicated in case of owned assets than in the case of leased assets, in particular if the owned asset is located in a third country, neither in the country of the lessee nor the lessor. Just to illustrate the degree of difficulty involved: Think you lease a car in the US and own another car which located in Egypt. If you don't pay the lease of your US car, the US leasing company in theory can seize your car in Egypt, but that will be very complicated.

    8. Ksa63 Guest

      You would need an enforceable judgement for the debt owed and the asset to be seized would have to have no security interests with higher priority. Not easy.

  17. Sebastian L Guest

    Shame on israel. Fashist country

    1. Moe Guest

      Funny you only are concerned with Israel. They seem to be operating flights to other Countries but those do not fit your anti-Israel attitude. maybe Israel has a reason to keep the lines open. humanitarian or otherwise.
      Some people can spell fascist correctly.

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Juraj Member

Nevertheless Iran used to operate a much older fleet, for which much fewer hi-tech parts were required, many could be manufactured in-house and some black market existed for ubiquitous aircraft types. Even so, their safety record was very spotty. None of this is true anymore for modern airliners. This will definitely be a safety concern.

4
Eskimo Guest

The difference is Iran really being sanctioned by only one very big bully. For Iran, spare parts are just as hard as Kim buying a new Rolls Royce. Your "without ready access to spares" means just few weeks lead time passing through 2-3 countries and shell companies. So much for sanctions. I can hardly imagine Russia doing the same without scrutiny from rest of the world for the foreseeable future.

4
RF Diamond

Sochi as a hub. Who would have thought.

2
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