Improving quality of service is one of Aeroflot’s top priorities, its competitive advantage and a continuous effort. In 2019 the airline appeared on Forbes’ global TOP-25 ranking of companies with best practices in customer service.
According to the renewed development strategy for Aeroflot group through 2028, Russia’s flag carrier is tasked to become a five-star service airline representing the country on the international markets.
The strategy, adopted in the summer of 2020, sets traffic target at 130 million passengers and implies further segmentation of the group’s airlines. Specifically, title carrier Aeroflot will focus on the premium segment. LCC division Pobeda Airlines will continue expansion to reach the 55-65 million passenger target. Further development of the LCC will help drive down the rates and make domestic travel more affordable. Rossiya Airlines will focus on regional travel inside the country, as well as providing connections on socially important routes and operating Russian-made aircraft.
Route network optimization with an emphasis on high-revenue routes with high levels of demand for business-class service, and redistribution of routes between the group’s airlines will help improve value for the passengers through concentrating resources and operations within their respective segment. At the same time, fleet standardization will contribute to financial efficiency and product quality.
Aeroflot, Russia’s largest airline and one of the oldest carriers in the world focuses on providing the highest standards of service, including convenient schedule with high frequencies both for direct and connection flights while operating young and efficient fleet. Implementation of the Strategy-2028 means extensive reform of the airline with the emphasis on upgrading the premium service to level up from the current status of Russia’s leading airline with Skytrax four-star rating to Global premium-class leader with five-star rating. Operational and financial efficiency are also high on the priority list.
The transformation is expected to result in the airline’s increased competitiveness on the global markets and a more attractive offering for international passengers, as well as growth in international transfer traffic. And that shift is happening already.
AIRCRAFT FLEET DEVELOPMENT
– operation of young fleet
– fleet unification
– increase in average seat capacity and efficiency through operation of more spacious aircraft.
Aeroflot’s fleet is one of the youngest among the world’s largest airlines, as of early June 2021 average age of the aircraft was 5.9 years. An important benefit of operating young aircraft is their high fuel efficiency, which also helps cut the environmental footprint by reducing CO2 and NOХ emissions.
Whilst now there are six aircraft types in Aeroflot’s fleet, it will be unified to three types in the near future. At present, the widebody segment is represented by Airbus A330, A350 and Boeing 777. Single-aisle fleet includes both Airbus A320 and Boeing 737, as well as regional jets Superjet 100.
As a result of controlled and logical fleet modernization the number of aircraft types will be reduced to three – the Airbus A320neo family, A350-900, and Boeing 777-300.
AIRBUS A320NEO NARROWBODY FAMILY
In May, Aeroflot passed an important milestone of its fleet renewal program – the airline started taking deliveries of the Airbus А320neo (New Engine Option) family, which is expected to form the core of Russia’s flag carrier narrow-body fleet in the future.
Quiet and environment-friendly, А320neo and А321neo will replace the ‘calssic’ A320ceos (Current Engine Option), which are being gradually phased out, and Boeing 737-800s, which are being transferred to its sister carrier, LCC Pobeda Airlines. By the end of this year Aeroflot expects to have nine A320neo family aircraft in operation – six A320neo and three A321neo.
To achieve the goal of increasing the fleet’s average seat capacity for better efficiency and reduced environmental footprint, the A320neo joining the fleet offer more capacity than Aeroflot’s existing A320ceo. This is achieved through reduced number of premium class seats and a slight reduction of seat pitch in economy class, offset by modern slim seats.
The A320neo cabin is configured with 12 seats (with 96.5 cm pitch) in business and 144 seats (up to 76.2 cm pitch) in economy class. In turn, the A321neo’s stretched fuselage can accommodate 12 passengers in business and 184 in economy cabins.
The difference in capacity of the narrowbody aircraft offers flexibility for more efficient capacity management and seat load factor optimization depending on demand on a specific route.
The A320neo family cabin interiors have commonality with the design of the newest widebody Airbus A350, which have been operated by Aeroflot since March 2020.
Economy class seats have become wider and feature ergonomic backrest concept. The adjustable headrest is fitted with neck support function. Passengers can recharge their electronic devices in flight, and each economy class seat is equipped with a tablet holder. Business class seats are outfitted with premium Jacquard upholstery and are fitted with 13-inch HD monitors, individual sockets, and USB-ports. All passengers can connect to Panasonic eX3 wireless in-flight entertainment system on their personal devices. The airliners offer access to high-speed Wi-Fi. The Business class galleys are equipped with Nespresso coffee makers and wine coolers. Among other features – larger capacity overhead bins with lighting, and cabin lighting system with a number of scenarios for cozy ambiance on board at any time of the day.
Airbus A320neo are powered with new generation engines and equipped with Sharklets, the combination, which reduces CO2 emissions and fuel consumption by 15% compared to previous generation aircraft.
AIRBUS A350 — THE NEW WIDEBODY TYPE IN AEROFLOT’S FLEET
Airbus A350-900 is another new widebody type, which has a special place in Aeroflot’s fleet renewal effort.
The newest aircraft debuted with Aeroflot in March 2020. Russia’s flag carrier became launch operator of the type not only in Russia, but in all of Eastern Europe.
Airbus А350’s capabilities allow Russia’s largest airline to offer the level-up service on its long-haul routes across all classes, while also improving fuel efficiency and environmental footprint. With the existing order for 22 Airbus A350 scheduled to arrive within the next few years, whilst the currently operated Airbus A330s will be gradually phased out as their leasing contracts expire, the newest aircraft will form the core of Aeroflot’s widebody fleet, making the airline’s long-haul offering more attractive on this highly competitive market.
The cabin layout and the level of comfort set a bar in the airline’s long-term service development, giving it additional advantage on the most crowded markets.
Aeroflot’s A350 cabin is configured with three classes – 28 seats in Business, 24 seats in Comfort and 264 seats in Economy.
The Business class interior features unique 1-2-1 seat layout, The Collins Aerospace Horizon lie-flat seats are enclosed in a suite with a closing door, providing passenger with private space, whilst also making the aisle accessible to each passenger. Suits create privacy, as retractable bulkheads instantly transform the seat into a small cabinet, a cozy cinema or a bedroom. There’s also extra space for storing personal belongings. The seats transform into 2 m lie-flat bed. Most of the world’s airlines offer such level of comfort only in Premium class cabins. Each compartment is equipped with individual 21″ screens.
Another signature feature of the new cabin is a bar stand, with a choice of beverages and snacks.
Passenger experience in Comfort and Economy class has also been improved compared to existing service through increased seat pitch and seat recline angle. Spacious cabin, lower noise levels and adaptive lighting create an especially comfortable ambiance.
Comfort class used to be a feature of Boeing 777 aircraft only. A350 Comfort cabins have 24 seats in 2–4–2 layout with backrests reclining as much as 20.3 cm and seat pitch increased to 96.5 cm.
These seats are fitted with individual lighting and 13″ screens.
In Economy class 264 slim seats fitted with adjustable headrests are configured in 3-3-3 layout. The seat pitch is 78.7 cm, and the backrests decline 15.2 cm. All seats are equipped with individual 12″ screens with access to in-flight entertainment system.
Airbus A350 cabin features unique lighting system with changing colors variable throughout the flight.
All classes have access to multimedia system with high-speed Internet.
AEROFLOT NAMED STRONSEST BRAND
Aeroflot has been named the strongest brand in Russia and the strongest airline brand globally by Brand Finance, the world’s leading independent brand valuation consultancy.
Brand Finance noted that Aeroflot is one of the few companies globally to strengthen its position despite the pandemic. Analysts see this as a sign of exceptionally strong reputation and popularity among customers.
Aeroflot scored a very strong 92.1 out of a possible 100 on Brand Finance’s Brand Strength Index (BSI). This is equivalent to the highest ААА+ rating.
THE TRIPLE SEVEN
The Boeing 777-300ER is the largest aircraft type in Aeroflot’s fleet. The Triple Seven can comfortably fly 402 passengers, accommodated in three classes (business class – 30 seats (2-2-2 configuration); premium economy – 48 seats (2-4-2); economy class – 324 seats (3-4-3)). With its first 777 became operational in 2013, the airline has accumulated significant experience operating 19 such aircraft. By the end of this year three more will be added to them. With higher capacity and comfort, they are designed to carry 427 passengers and have a fundamentally new business class arrangement. The planes have a new layout: 28 business-class seats (with access to the aisle from each seat) with 1-2-1 seating; 24 seats in premium economy, 2-4-2; 375 seats in economy class, 3-4-3.
The flight will not seem boring with the entertainment multimedia system. Classics and novelties of cinema, audio books and more than 600 music albums, computer games and cartoons for children – this is only part of the program offered to passengers on long-haul Aeroflot flights. In addition, wireless Internet access is available on all Aeroflot Boeing 777 aircraft.
AEROFLOT’S TABLEWARE WINS PRESTIGIOUS DESIGN AWARD
Aeroflot’s airplane tableware developed by designers Mikhail Chistiakov and Yulia Chistiakova has won a prestigious Red Dot Award. The design award is presented annually by the design centre at Essen, Germany.
As part of the international Red Dot Design Award 2021Skopkar tableware design concept was awarded in the Tableware category. The respectable jury, which included celebrated designers from different countries, appreciated the sense of style demonstrated by the leading Russian airline. In-flight catering is one of Aeroflot’s service strong points.
The whole tableware range was recognized with the award, including porcelain, cutlery, glassware, textiles and paper products. The new design was gradually rolled out across fleet to be completed by late 2019. The tableware sets are now available on all of the airline’s flights.
The jury emphasized the perfectly balanced tableware concept designed to meet the numerous requirements of the civil aviation. These encompass style continuity, compact size, functionality.
The experts outlined that Aeroflot’s tableware concept showcases a contemporary reinterpretation of the Russian table culture with a traditional appeal. The design is based on the image of a Russian wooden scoop called skopkar, and a traditional colourful wooden spoon was transformed into an elegant metal spoon preserving its distinctive tip.
Red Dot Design Award is an international design competition established by the North Rhine –Westphalia Design centre at Essen. The accolade recognizes designers and manufacturers for best consumer product designs. Red Dot Design Award has become one of the most sought-after marks of quality for good design in Europe.
CUSTOMER SERVICE IN NEW REALITY
The unstable COVID-19 situation had all protocols and priorities at Aeroflot focused on the health and wellbeing of its passengers. Because of the pandemic and in order to ensure protection against the virus, the airline has made significant changes to its customer service procedures. Aeroflot has joined SkyTeam’s SkyCare&Protect pledge to strengthen protection for its passengers and employees.
The SkyCare&Protect pledge contains safety measures to be applied by participating members and reflects recommendations by public health agencies and industry departments, including ICAO, IATA, as well as the US and EU centres for disease prevention and control.
The pledge is based on five layers of protection that enhance personal safety at every step of the journey:
– Ready to Fly: customers are offered contactless travel experience (digital check-in)
– Cleaned: high-touch areas both at airport and on board are more intensively cleaned, aircraft are intensively disinfected
– Protected: social distancing tools, personal protective equipment and aircraft air filters
– Screened: closer attention to passenger temperature checks and compliance with the requirements
– Informed: information on the measures taken to ensure well-being of travelers.
Thanks to the effective efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19, restrictions on multi-use tableware, and on food and drink service were lifted as early as during Summer 2020. This allowed us to go back to the standard level of service in all travel classes.
AEROFLOT CHANGES RULES FOR TRANSPORTING ANIMALS
Aeroflot has introduced changes to rules and procedures for transporting animals. The new regulations are aimed to ensure a comfortable and safe flight for all categories of passengers.
The changes have been the result of the work of an expert group for enhancement of service of animal carriage.
The expert group established in autumn 2020 comprised representatives of cynological and felinological associations, aviation experts as well as Sheremetyevo Handling and heads of a number of the airline’s departments.
According to the new rules the number of pets allowed for transportation by one passenger has been increased from one to three.
Two adult animals (6+ months) can be carried in one pet container provided that their weight does not exceed 8 kg.
Passengers and their family members carrying two containers with animals in the cabin are allowed to place them in the central block of seats on wide-body aircraft.
A passenger carrying an animal, in addition to the free checked baggage allowance, may carry a stroller for the animal and use it before boarding (the service is provided taking into account the infrastructure of the airports of the route network, if the weight of the stroller does not exceed 10 kg and the dimensions when folded do not exceed 203 cm as a sum of the three dimensions).
The time for advance notice for pet transportation has been reduced to 6 hours (previously – at least 24 hours prior to departure).
The requirements for animal containers have been further specified.
At check-in, the animals and the cage is photographed, and a sticker with the pet’s information and the owner’s phone number is attached to the cage.
The requirements for loading animals on board the aircraft have also been changed: additional restrictions have been introduced on the maximum time spent by the container on the apron, as well as requirements for the use of cage protection from bad weather. Special places are allocated to ensure comfort for the animal during the wait.
Restrictions have been lifted on transportation of dogs of brachycephalic breeds: Pugs, Boxers, Bulldogs, Pekingese, Shih Tzu.
The list of potentially dangerous breeds of dogs prohibited for transportation has been reduced. The list comprised 75 breeds previously, and 12 now.
Aeroflot has updated the section on the website where travelers can find a clear-cut instruction on the preparation for travelling with a pet, exhaustive information and answers to FAQ.
Aeroflot plans to launch online service for booking and payment of animal transportation. Passengers will be able to access the service via their personal cabinet on Aeroflot website or in the mobile application. Passengers will also be able to insure their pets as part of their flight insurance.
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