At the turn of 1998, Russia’s first-ever Boeing 777 aircraft to the skies for the very first time. However, by the time 2005 was over, the type would be gone from the Aeroflot’s fleet. So, why did the airline operate the plane for less than a decade?
A temporary option
On January 23rd, 1998 a Boeing 777-200ER headed to Moscow from Boeing Field, Washington to join its home for the next seven years. This plane would become the first of two units of the type to join the flag carrier of Russia’s fleet, with another arriving in the fall of that year.
The veteran would only lease these planes rather than owning them outright. The airline struck a deal with California-based International Lease Finance Corporation to operate the widebodies.
Boeing was undoubtedly proud that Aeroflot was deploying its 777-200ER aircraft. The manufacturer highlighted that the planes were fitted with GE90 engines and the seats were configured in a three-class setting.
A suitable solution
With the ability to hold up to 291 travelers, the -200ERs were primarily taken on to help Aeroflot ramp up its long-haul operations. Notably, the airline was keen to expand service to New York and London from its base in Moscow.
“Aeroflot is the only carrier in Russia with a 777-200ER. The airline has been flying Boeing airplanes since 1994, when it leased its first 767-300ER,” Boeing shared in a statement.
“Aeroflot currently flies to 153 destinations in 84 countries and provides 70 percent of all international air transport performed by Russian airlines.”
Even though Aeroflot did fly a couple of Boeing types during the 1990s, during this time, its fleet mostly consisted of Soviet productions, including a mix of Tupolev, Ilyushin, and Yakovlev models. However, there the airline was operating the Airbus A310 from 1992, and even the McDonnell Douglas DC-10 joined in 1995 to help out with cargo operations.
After the end of the Cold War, it was evident that Aeroflot was not shy to take on more western aircraft. Currently, the Sukhoi Superjet is the only Russian jet in its holdings.
Additional 767-300s kept on arriving at the turn of the millennium. A total of 11 units entered Aeroflot’s fleet between 1999 and 2006. So, this widebody took precedence for the company over its sibling as the 777-200 fully left in 2005. The Airbus A330 would also soon assist with long-haul operations from 2008.
According to Planspotters.net, registration VP-BA, which was the first 777-200ER to join, left for Vietnam Airlines in August 2005. After that, VP-BAU also departed for the same operator in October 2005.
Nonetheless, the 777 would make a comeback from 2013, with Aeroflot currently holding 20 777-300s. However, the carrier’s first-ever Airbus A350 joined the fold in February last year. These two types will likely dominate long-distance operations in the years ahead as the company plans to retire its A330s.
What are your thoughts about Aeroflot’s time with the Boeing 777-200? Did you ever get the chance to fly on the aircraft during its time in the air with the carrier? Let us know what you think of these operations in the comment section.