The Boeing 767: Aeroflot’s First American Airliner

Today, Russian flag carrier Aeroflot operates a very diverse fleet. Among its ranks are designs from Boeing and Airbus, as well as models from closer to home in the form of the Sukhoi Superjet. However, in years gone by, Russian-made aircraft dominated the carrier’s operations. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, it began incorporating Western-built jetliners into its fleet. Let’s take a closer look at the first US-built aircraft to fly for Aeroflot: the Boeing 767.

Aeroflot Boeing 767
Aeroflot flew 13 767s between 1994 and 2014. Photo: Aero Icarus via Flickr

Aeroflot’s first 767s

The first aircraft from the industry-dominating Airbus-Boeing duopoly to enter Aeroflot’s fleet was the European manufacturer’s twin-aisle A310. According to Planespotters.net, Airbus delivered the first of these, F-OGQQ, brand-new to the airline in August 1992. This came less than a year after the former Soviet Union was dissolved into separate states.

The arrival of the A310 represented a changing of the guard among Aeroflot’s fleet. The influx of Western-built aircraft continued two years later, with the arrival of Aeroflot’s first US-built aircraft in the form of Boeing 767-300s. This was a particularly symbolic fleet addition given the previous Cold War tensions between the Soviet Union and the US.

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Aeroflot Boeing 767
One of Aeroflot’s original 767s in the airline’s old livery. Photo: Simon Butler via Flickr

According to Planespotters.net, Aeroflot’s 767 fleet began as a two-aircraft affair. Both examples arrived at the airline brand-new in September 1994. Both examples also had the same post-Aeroflot fate, transferring to Trans World Airlines in 2000.

Of these two, EI-CKD now flies for the Chilean Air Force under the simple registration of 985. Meanwhile, its counterpart, EI-CKE, had a cargo conversion in December 2017. It first flew freight for Atlas Air, but has been leased to Amazon Prime Air since September 2018.

A second influx

Aeroflot’s second wave of 767 arrivals occurred just before the turn of the century, in 1999. Between August and December of the 20th century’s final year, four more 767-300s joined the Russian flag carrier’s fleet. These were the airline’s first aircraft to bear names, and were dedicated to the likes of Leo Tolstoy and Fyodor Dostoevsky.

Aeroflot Boeing 767
By the turn of the century, Aeroflot had six 767s. Photo: Aeroprints.com via Wikimedia Commons

This batch of 767-300s, and nearly all that followed, featured a 218-seat two-class onboard configuration. This consisted of 30 business class seats and a 188-seat economy cabin. All four of these aircraft flew for Transaero after Aeroflot, leaving the Russian flag carrier between October 2013 and March 2014. They have since been repurposed as freighters, with one flying for Star Air, and the other three, once again, for Amazon Prime Air.

21st-century deliveries

After the turn of the century, Aeroflot received a further seven used examples of the 767-300, bringing its all-time contingent up to 13 aircraft. The first of these 21st-century deliveries arrived at the airline in August 2003, with the last pair coming in June 2006.

The aircraft with the shortest time at Aeroflot was VP-BWT. Aeroflot flew this plane for six years and two months, between May 2005 and July 2011. It had previously flown for Air 2000 and First Choice Airways, and has since operated for TUIfly Nordic and TUI Airways.

Nordwind Airlines Boeing 767
Several Aeroflot 767s went on to fly for Nordwind Airlines. Photo: Fedor Leukhin via Wikimedia Commons

Meanwhile, the longest-serving example from Aeroflot’s seven 21st-century 767 deliveries was VP-BDI. This aircraft arrived at the Russian flag carrier in August 2003. More than a decade later, it became the last 767 to leave the airline’s fleet in June 2014. It went on to fly for fellow Russian carriers Nordwind Airlines and Ikar.

Sadly, two of the 767s delivered to Aeroflot this side of the year 2000 have been scrapped since leaving the airline. The airline withdrew VP-BWU from use in June 2012, and it was broken up at Marana Pinal Airpark (MZJ), Arizona in 2014. Meanwhile, VP-BWV was also scrapped in Crestview, Florida, having been placed into storage there by Orient Thai Airlines in November 2013. It had left Aeroflot for Orient Thai just over a year beforehand.

What do you make of the Boeing 767? Did you ever fly onboard one of Aeroflot’s examples? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments!

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