Russian Recovery: Aeroflot’s March Passengers Were Down Only 6%

Russian national flag carrier Aeroflot has just released its March 2021 passenger figures, and they are only down around 6% compared to the same period in 2020. In March of 2020, Aeroflot’s operating results were affected by flight restrictions imposed to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Aeroflot, On Time Performance, 2019
Domestic passenger numbers pick up for Aeroflot. Photo: Getty Images. Photo: Getty Images

In March 2021, Aeroflot continued to restore its domestic traffic levels while also reintroducing international flights to Belarus, South Korea, Japan, Serbia, Finland, Azerbaijan, Armenia, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Seychelles. Generally speaking, international travel remains limited due to the ongoing pandemic.

Four airlines make up the Aeroflot Group

First established in 1923, the Aeroflot Group is the state-owned parent company of Russia’s national airline Aeroflot. The Russian government maintains a 51% share in the group, with the remaining shares (49%) listed on the Russian stock Exchange. Along with the national flag carrier, the Aeroflot Group subsidiaries include the following airlines:

  • Rossiya Airlines
  • Aurora
  • Pobeda Airlines

Key highlights of the month were:

  • The group carried 2.8 million passengers, down 5.9% year on year
  • Domestic flights carried 2.4 million passengers, up 19.4% year on year
  • Group Revenue Passenger Kilometers (RPK) decreased by 22.7% year on year while Available Seat Kilometers (ASK) decreased by 40.9% year on year
  • Aeroflot Group load factor was at 82.8%, an increase of 19.5% year on year
  • Pobeda Airlines carried 982.3 thousand passengers, a year-on-year increase of 31.3%

Fleet updates:

During March, Aeroflot phased out one Airbus А330-200 and two Airbus А320s while at the same time transferring six The Sukhoi Superjet 100s to Rossiya Airlines.

Aeroflot Sukhoi Superjet 100
Aeroflot is transferring six Sukhoi Superjet 100s to Rossiya Airlines. Photo: Getty Images

New routes

Starting April 29, Aeroflot plans to serve the capital of the Altai Republic region of Russia, Gorno-Altaysk, with daily flights from Sheremetyevo – A.S. Pushkin international airport (SVO) to Aeroport Taksi Gorno-Altaysk (RGK). The flights will be operated using Boeing 737-800 aircraft and will increase to ten flights per week in June.

Gorno-Altaysk is the gateway to the Altai Mountains near the border with Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and China. Often referred to as the “Siberian Switzerland,” the region is extremely popular with Russian tourists.

In international flight news, Aeroflot has announced that it will be flying from Moscow Sheremetyevo to Malta International Airport (MLA) twice a week starting from June 4, 2021.

Like many Mediterranean countries that rely heavily on summer tourism, Malta was walloped by the pandemic and is eager to entice tourists by offering foreign visitors as much as €200 ($238.10) if they stay at least three days.

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New flights to Morocco

Aeroflot also intends to launch two new routes from Moscow to the North African country of Morocco. From early June, Aeroflot will fly from SVO to Agadir Al-Massira International Airport (AGA) three times per week and Casablanca Mohammed V International Airport (CMN) once per week. All flights will be onboard Aeroflot Boeing 737-800 aircraft.

Aeroflot boeing 737-800
Aeroflot will use Boeing 737-800s for its flights to Morocco. Photo: Getty Images

Passengers traveling to Morocco must provide a negative PCR test result written in English, French, or Arabic taken no longer than 72 hours before arriving in Morocco.

Domestically at least, it would appear that Russia is traveling back to near pre-COVID-19 levels. Internationally, it is bound to take longer due to quarantine rules that many countries have in place.

What do you think about Aeroflot’s March figures? Please tell us your thoughts in the comments.