Aeroflot retired its fleet of Ilyushin IL-96 aircraft earlier this year as it moves towards more modern, Western types for its widebody operations.
One of the aircraft has even been destroyed by fire since it was retired.
However, now there’s a bit of hope for those who like to see Russian planes in the skies, or those who haven’t flown on the type yet (myself included) as both Cubana and Red Wings are taking on some of the former Aeroflot IL-96s for their own operations.
Cubana uses the type on some domestic schedules, and also to places like Buenos Aires, Madrid and Paris Orly from its Havana base. It will take one ex-Aeroflot aircraft.
Red Wings is planning to use the aircraft on flights from Moscow to Simferopol in Crimea. It will take three ex-Aeroflot aircraft. I think it’ll look fantastic in their colours!
UTair has signed an agreement with the regional government to develop Yermolino Aerodrome into another international airport for Moscow and the surrounding area.
The facility is currently under utilised and lacking any significant infrastructure. However, given investment which would adapt it into a fully fledged airport, UTair says it will introduce up to 20 based Airbus A321 aircraft and a significant network of routes.
Yermolino is around 90 miles to the south west of Moscow and has fairly good road links.
The regional government would provide support in attracting investors for the project, whilst additional funding would also be provided by the Ministry for Internal Affairs.
Construction is expected to start later in 2014, with the airport opening for airline flights in time for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, which is to be held in Russia. A throughput of 6.5 million passengers would be expected by 2020.
The airport would not be limited to UTair flights, with other airlines being invited to begin services to Yermolino.
Transaero Airlines will begin flights from Moscow to Saint Petersburg, Sochi, Vladivostok and Khabarovsk using Boeing 747-400 aircraft. This move is aimed at meeting the increasing demand during the summer season 2014.
Flights began to Vladivostok on 21 May, with other routes coming online in June and July.
Transaero is the only operator of passenger Boeing 747-400 aircraft in Eastern Europe, the CIS and Russia. These aircraft operate flights on the most popular leisure and scheduled routes from Moscow to numerous destinations in Europe, America, Asia and Africa. In summer season 2014, Boeing 747-400 aircraft will operate from Saint Petersburg to Greece, Cyprus, Tunisia and Turkey.
Belavia EMB175, (c) Magic Aviation.
Belavia will introduce the Embraer 195 aircraft in May, alongside its existing EMB 175, CRJ, and Boeing 737 aircraft.
The airline has announced that the 195 will operate on the following routes from 6 May:
Minsk – Amsterdam (from 16 May)
Minsk – Batumi (from July)
Minsk – Moscow Domodedovo
Minsk – Prague
Minsk – St Petersburg
Aeroflot is the first airline in Russia to take Sharklet-equipped Airbus A320s, with delivery of its latest example.
The airline is operating the biggest Airbus fleet in the region with 90 A320 Family aircraft and 22 A330 Family aircraft.
Ryanair has been granted access to fly to Russia from its Dublin base, following the likes of easyJet which started flying from the UK this year.
Flights are likely to start in March 2014, flying from Dublin to both Moscow and St. Petersburg using Boeing 737-800 aircraft.
The Moscow airport to be used has not yet been decided, although Vnukovo is a firm favourite amongst experts.
Plans are afoot to turn the airfield at Ramenskoye, 40km south east of Moscow, into a new passenger airport which is aimed primarily at low cost airlines.
Currently Ramenskoye is used as a test facility for the Ministry of Emergency Situations, and is also home to the MAKS Airshow every second year. The airfield has one main operational runway which is of sufficient length for airliner operations.
It is planned to construct a passenger terminal capable of handling up to 400,000 passengers per year. This would later be upgraded to handle 1.5 million passengers.
A second passenger terminal would be constructed from 2017 and the first terminal expanded further. Eventually it is anticipated the airport would handle up to 10 million passengers per year.
Cargo infrastructure would also be constructed.
Following from its recent aircraft orders, UT Air has now announced that it intends to retire its Tupolev TU-154 fleet by the end of 2013.
The airline recently retired the TU-134 from mainline service, and now the larger aircraft will disappear in favour of western and newer Russian types.
Last chance to fly
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UT Air has signed two lease agreements with VEB-leasing to bring a number of new Russian-made regional jets to its fleet.
One of the agreements is to finance six of the Sukhoi SSJ100 LR aircraft ordered by the carrier. The delivery of the single-class cabin aircraft seating 103 passengers will begin in 2014.
The second agreement is to lease ten of the UAC made MS-21-300 aircraft which are still in development, with aircraft delivery starting in 2018 and to be completed in 2020. The Irkut Corporation will also provide services for placing aircraft into service.
These announcements were made at the International Aviation and Space Salon MAKS-2013 at Zhukovsky.
Wizz Air continues to push east with the announcement today that it will commence 5x weekly flights from Budapest to Moscow Vnukovo.
Flights will begin on 23 September using Airbus A320 aircraft.
The announcement follows recent new route announcements by Wizz Air from Venice and Rome to Chisinau, and its first forays into Africa with new routes to Egypt.