Rossiya becomes Russia’s third airline with fleet exceeding 100 aircraft

Aeroflot group’s carrier is on track to becoming the country’s largest airline by fleet size in two years

Rossiya Airlines 100 aircraft (Artyem Anikeev / Rossiya Airlines)

Russia now has three airlines, whose fleet exceeds 100 jets. Joining flag carrier Aeroflot (202 aircraft in fleet) and its privately owned rival S7 Airlines (102 aircraft) in their elite status of Russia’s largest carriers in terms of aircraft numbers, is Rossiya Airlines. In fact, the carrier, which is part of Aeroflot Group, is expanding its fleet with Russian-made jets, and is on track to becoming the country’s largest airline by fleet size, provided local aerospace industry manages to keep deliveries at a steady rate.

As recently as late last year Rossiya’s fleet was under 60 units, however under Aeroflot Group’s new strategy adopted in July 2020, the airline is set to become group’s core operator of Russian-made aircraft. Hence, all 54 Superjet 100s (SSJ100) operated by Aeroflot, are being transferred to Rossiya, along with orders for 95 more Russian regional SSJ100s and 50 advanced mid-haul MC-21 airliners as well as an option for further 35 MC-21s. If all these orders and commitments materialize according to the agreed delivery schedule, by 2028 Rossiya may grow its fleet to 250 aircraft, including 235 Russian-made jets.

Its parent Aeroflot airline, by contrast, is cautious in terms of fleet expansion plans. Apart from the 54 SSJ100s it relinquished to Rossiya, all its 50 Boeing 737-800s are being transferred to LCC division Pobeda Airlines. Since Aeroflot’s main revenue-generating business remains depressed due to ongoing international travel restrictions, its fleet renovation policy is reserved. This paves way to Rossiya to lead the market by fleet size.

At the moment, Rossiya is the world’s largest operator of SSJ100 with 42 of the type making the core of its current fleet. That number is set to reach 66 units before the end of 2021, and 87 units by the end of 2022. First deliveries of Russia’s long-delayed new narrow-body airliners MC-21s are now expected mid next year, with Rossiya being the first to receive them. Certification of the MC-21-300 is slated for late 2021, and their serial production is just being set up.

In the meantime, Rossiya will continue operating Western-built jets, which it currently utilizes for both scheduled and charter services. Airbus A320ceo family is the core of Rossiya’s Western fleet, and the airline is one of the world’s three leaders by Boeing 747 fleet. The latter is due mainly to the fact that the COVID-induced crisis expedited the retirement of the four-engined jumbos across the globe. Rossiya emphasizes that all of its aircraft are maintained in perfect airworthy conditions in compliance with the strictest safety regulations.

Rossiya’s fleet is mostly concentrated at two base airports – Moscow Sheremetyevo and St. Petersburg’s Pulkovo. Its combined route network from both bases has 98 destinations, including 67 domestic and 32 international routes.

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