MIAMI – Aeroflot Russian Airlines (SU) is the latest carrier to add the highly popular Airbus A320neo to its fleet, with the first taking the first flight from Toulouse-Blagnac on September 23.

This is the first aircraft in a package worth US$870m for the lease of six Airbus A320neo airframes and three larger A321neo aircraft.

Photo Credit: Eurospot

Aeroflot Fleet

The A320neo is reported to be 15-20% more fuel-efficient than its predecessor, the Airbus A320, as well as boasting a quieter cabin. Aeroflot’s fleet numbers around 238 aircraft, with 159 active as of this writing, due to the COVID-19 global pandemic.

134 of those are narrowbody aircraft, the standard Airbus A320, and A321 aircraft, along with the Boeing 737-800 and Sukhoi Superjet 100. Initial routes for the new Airbus are from Moscow to Lisbon (LIS), Prague (PRG), St. Petersburg-Pulkovo (LED), Novosibirsk (OVB), Ulaanbaatar (UBN), and Yakutsk (YKS).

As more airframes join the fleet, we will see the carrier spread out further into Russia, the Near East, Middle East, Mediterranean, and European routes.

Photo: Eurospot

A Busy Year for Aeroflot

Aeroflot has had a busy year, like other carriers have, especially with the ongoing COVID-19 crisis continuing to hit the industry. For example, this year alone has seen the carrier take delivery of its first Airbus A350, although no delivery date has yet been given for the A320neo.

The airline will still need deliveries even during a pandemic, especially with the recent announcements of its weekend UAE flights resuming as well as further flights restarting from Moscow (DME).

Photo: Eurospot

Future Growth

Looking ahead, whilst the pandemic is shifting the motion of the industry, the Russian airline is still forecasting fleet growth within the next eight years, adding some level of hope and certainty.

It will be interesting to see how SU will continue to deal with the pandemic and how quickly it anticipates a bounceback.

Featured image: Aeroflot A320neo. Photo: Eurospot