Russia’s Aeroflot Set To Begin Airbus A330 Retirement

As Russian national flag carrier Aeroflot prepares for the arrival of its new Airbus A350 aircraft the country’s largest airline is begging to retire its fleet of wide-body Airbus A330 planes.

Aeroflot A330 registration VQ-BCQ was the first A330 aircraft to be retired from the Russian airline’s fleet departing its home base of Sheremetyevo – A.S. Pushkin international airport (SVO) on September 30th, 2019 for Hong Kong.

Aeroflot’s first retired A330 is in Hong Kong. Photo: Masakatsu Ukon via Flickr

While in Hong Kong the aircraft will undergo re-delivery checks by Chinese MRO provider HAECO.

Known for its distinctive SkyTeam livery VQ-BCQ arrived in Moscow in 2009 following a lease agreement between Aeroflot and one of the world’s largest aircraft leasing companies AerCap.

The Airbus A330s were bought to replace Boeing 767-300ERs

The Airbus A330 was initially purchased by Aeroflot in 2006 as a replacement for 11, 218 seat Boeing 767-300ERs with the last 767 leaving Aeroflot’s fleet in 2015.


With the A330 Aeroflot was able to increase its long-haul flights. Photo: Adrian Pingstone Wikimedia Commons

With the arrival of the new bigger Airbus A330s Aeroflot was able to increase its seating capacity and expand its long-haul network to the Far East.

At the time of its arrival, Aeroflot’s chief executive Valery Okulov claimed the new aircraft would particularly strengthen the airlines long-haul potential.

The A330 was also the first Aeroflot branded aircraft to be equipped with an in-flight entertainment system (IFE).

Aeroflot will cut its A330 fleet in half by the end of 2021

Aeroflot currently operates a fleet of 22 Airbus A330s of which it plans to reduce to 12 A330s by the end of 2021.

Aeroflot Boeing 777ER-300
Aeroflot moved away from Airbus in favor of the Boeing 777-300ER. Photo: byeangel via Flickr

In 2012 Aeroflot turned their attention away from wide-body long-haul Airbus aircraft in favor of Boeing 777-300ERs. While Boeing’s maximum range is comparable to the Airbus A330 it can carry 40% more passengers.

Aeroflot’s A330-200s were configured to carry 241 passengers whereas the Boeing 777-300ER could carry 402.

Airbus A350-900 aircraft will replace the retiring A330s

Coming in to replace the old A330s Aeroflot has so far confirmed orders for 14 of a possible 28 Airbus A350-900 aircraft.


Aeroflot has a confirmed order for 14 Airbus A350s. Photo: Don-vip Wikimedia Commons

The Russian airline’s new Airbus A350s will feature three seat classes that comprise 28 seats in business,24 seats in premium economy and 264 seats in economy, for a total of 316 seats.

The new Aeroflot A350s are expected to start arriving sometime at the begging of 2020 according to website Russian Aviation Insider, who says the first seven will arrive in 2020 and then seven more in 2021.

According to Aeroflot’s schedule published on their website, the first A350 flight is SU 0122 which will depart SVO on the 29th of March 2020 for New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK).

Prior to the New York flight and service to Beijing starting in May, the A350 will be flown on shorter distance flights between Moscow and St Petersburg and Moscow to Sochi for familiarisation.

In 2019 Aeroflot took a cautious approach to expanding its fleet only bringing in two Boing 777-300s and 10 Russian-made Sukhoi Superjet 100s.