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Russian Airlines
November 26, 2007 18:42

Long distances, remote cities and relatives living so far away – that is true about Russia. No wonder, that planes are very often the only possible transport able to take you to your destination point on time. Today lots of air carriers can fly you from one Russian city to another or abroad. Here are some notes about the biggest Russian airlines for you to choose from.


Based at Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow Aeroflot remains the leading air carrier in the RF since the day of its foundation in 1923. The first regular domestic route was organized between Moscow and Nizhny Novgorod on 15 July 1923. The name Aeroflot is short for the Central Administration of Civil Air Fleet founded in 1932. In 1956 Aeroflot launched the world's first jet, the TU-104 for operation on Russia's domestic and international routes.

In August 1959, Sheremetyevo airport was opened with the primary task of accommodating international flights.

In 1980 Aeroflot performed as the general carrier of participants of the XXII Olympic Games held in Moscow. A new international airport Sheremetyevo 2, capable of simultaneously handling 31 aircraft of any type, was constructed in order to welcome athletes and guests to the capital from all over the world. The official opening ceremony was held on May 6.

In 1991, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, former Soviet republics and regions in Russia began founding their own airline companies. Aeroflot was the successor to the name Aeroflot and trademark of the former Soviet air carrier. In 1993 Aeroflot was registered as open joint-stock company and preserved legal rights for the trademark “Aeroflot” which is one of the best known Russian brands in the world.

The share of performed flights is 47% domestic and 37% international. Aeroflot is a premium airline and the only one in Russia to receive 5 stars according to the prestigious SkyTrax rating. The airline has a large route network: it has 350 regular flights. The airline carries 26 million people annually.

S7 (Sibir Airlines) 

Sibir Airlines is the descendent of Aeroflot’s largest regional subsidiary set up in Tolmachevo, Novosibirsk in 1957. Its first passenger flights were between Novosibirsk and Moscow with Tu-104s.

In May 1992 a state-run enterprise called Sibir Airlines, based at the Tolmachevo airport, was created by the decree of the Russian Ministry of Transport. In August 1994, Sibir Airlines received its international IATA code, S7, and in 2001 it became an active member of the International Air Transport Association.

Since 1998, the company has been growing rapidly. Since 2002, Sibir has been Russia’s leading domestic carrier.

Today S7 is one of the world’s 50 biggest domestic airlines, and one of the top 100 in terms of key performance indicators. In 2006 the company made over 40,000 flights, carrying 4,900,000 passengers and more than 28,000 tones of cargo and post.

Since March 2006, Sibir Airlines has operated under the registered trade name S7 Airlines. Today, S7’s passengers can easily take advantage of the extensive opportunities offered by the airline’s domestic flight network to every major city in Russia and the rest of the CIS. S7 operates scheduled flights to Europe and countries in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as charter flights to 20 countries around the world.

To keep its flight network operating efficiently and smoothly, S7 has a large fleet of aircraft, amongst which are 60 long-haul airliners, including Airbus 319 and A310s, Boeing 737s, Tupolev Tu-154s and Ilyushin Il-86s.

In 2005, S7 became the first Russian airline to launch an internet ticket sales service via its website, This area is developing well, opening up new opportunities for S7 passengers.

The majority of flights are operated from Moscow and Novosibirsk, the cities where the carrier is based.   Last year, 10.6 million people chose S7 flights.


Russia airlines is the “Air Company of Two Capitals”, as it is based in two airports: Vnukovo in Moscow and Pulkovo in St Petersburg.

It is Russia’s largest state-owned air company, and the leading air carrier in the North-Western Region of the RF.

The company was established by the RF President’s Decree No. 1119 of August 24, 2004 by merger of Pulkovo Airlines and STC Russia (Moscow). The new air company FSUE STC Russia was registered in St. Petersburg on October 9, 2006. The main purpose of restructuring was to create a powerful, advanced and competitive state-owned air carrier, as a part of the governmental strategy to improve the air transport enterprises’ structure to optimize the number of airlines and to consolidate them.

Today, the company offers flights to over 10 cities of the world and has 50 offices in Russia and countries in and outside of the former Soviet Union. The fleet of the RUSSIA air company consists of Boeing 737-500, Tu-214, Tu-154, Tu-134, Il-86, Il-96, Il-62 and Yak-40.

The main purpose of the restructuring is to create a powerful, advanced and competitive state-owned air carrier, as a part of the governmental strategy to improve the air transport enterprises’ structure to optimize the number of airlines and to consolidate them. 

The majority of flights are operated from St. Petersburg and Moscow - the cities where the carrier is based. Part of the Aeroflot group of companies, it offers its passengers the Aeroflot Bonus bonus program. Over the past year, Russia Airlines carried 8 million passengers and took third place in the country.


The history of the airline dates back to 1934. The first squadron was based at an airdrome, which was then located several kilometers of the City of Tyumen. Its aim was to support the operation of the Northern Shipping Lane.

The Tyumen aviation group managed and controlled the operation of subordinate units, which carried passengers, mail, cargo, made service flights for exploratory expeditions, medical service flights, forest patrol flights and spread pesticides.

With the beginning of the development of oil and gas deposits, the Civil Aviation Minister of the USSR issued an order on February 7, 1967 to organize the Tyumen Civil Aviation Department on the basis of the Tyumen Aviation Group of the Ural Civil Aviation Department.

In 1991 Tyumenaviatrans was declared a full successor of the Tyumen Civil Aviation Department

In accordance with a respective decree of the President of Russia and a decision by the staff of the airline, on October 28, 1992 Tyumenaviatrans was transformed into a joint-stock company, called the Tyumen Aviation Transport Company "Tyumenaviatrans." The new company was the full successor of the previous airline.

A new name of the airline, UTair, was approved at a general meeting of shareholders in the Tyumenaviatrans Airline in Khanty-Mansiysk on May 30, 2002. At present, the airline is one of the leaders on the aviation services market of Russia and is one of the four largest helicopter operators in the world.

In order to support small aviation flights the Company operates about forty assigned airports, helipads and landing sites in Tyumen region.

The Largest Russian airlines in terms of passenger turnover at the end of 2020  

1. Aeroflot

2. S7 Airlines

3. Russia

4. Victory

5. Ural Airlines

6. North wind (Nordwind)

7. AZUR air

8. UTair

9. Royal Flight

10. Red Wings

11. Nordavia (Smaravia)

12. Icarus

13. Nord Star
14. Azimuth

15. Yakutia

16. Yamal

17. Aurora

18. IrAero

19. Alrosa

20. RusLine

21. Gazpromavia
22. Hangar
23. KrasAvia

24. UTair JSC

25. Izhavia
26. Polar Airlines

27.Siberian Light Aviation (SILA)

28. Chukotavia

Read more about Russian Airlines...

Olga Pletneva (updated by Mikhail Vesely)

Tags: Russian business Russian Airlines    

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