Aeroflot Analyzed: Inside The Airline’s United States Growth

Aeroflot is the largest operator between the United States and Central/Eastern Europe this year, based on non-stop capacity. Following significant growth before the pandemic hit, we look at the Russian airline to the US and examine its Miami operation.

Aeroflot B777-300ER
If 2004-2021 is combined, the B767-300ER has operated more Aeroflot flights to the US than any other aircraft. Next: B777-300ER (as here); the A330-300; A330-200; A350-900; B777-200ER; and A310-300. Photo: Vincenzo Pace – Simple Flying.

In 2019, before the pandemic struck, Aeroflot had over one million seats between Moscow Sheremetyevo, its main hub, and the US, according to data experts OAG. It more than doubled in size between 2012 and 2019 (+115%), the result of introducing Miami in 2012 and very significant growth to JFK.

Aeroflot to the US
Despite the growth, Aeroflot’s US network had just 3.5% of its international seats from Sheremetyevo. Image: Simple Flying using data from OAG Schedules Analyzer.

Why such growth to JFK?

The expansion to JFK was helped by fellow SkyTeam airline Delta ceasing the route in 2017 and Transaero ending it from Moscow Vnukovo in 2015. Because of this gap, Aeroflot increased summertime frequencies from two- to three-daily. In summer 2019, two flights were operated by 402-seat B777-300ERs, while the third was by 296-seat A330-300s.

Aeroflot A330-300
For a limited time in June 2018, Aeroflot had four daily flights from JFK because of the World Cup. Photo: Fedor Leukhin via Wikimedia.

Aeroflot to the USA this year

Looking to the first week of August 2021, Aeroflot’s US network comprises four destinations, as follows. Intriguingly, Los Angeles, which has been served for many years, will leave Russia at a different time each day, from 07:05 to 19:45.

  1. JFK: 10 weekly (B777-300ER)
  2. Los Angeles: six-weekly (B777-300ER)
  3. Miami: three-weekly (A350-900)
  4. Washington Dulles: once-weekly (A330-300)
Aeroflot A310
Aeroflot last used the A310-300 to the US in 2004. It was operated just 18 round-trip flights to Washington Dulles, supplementing the usual B767-300ER. Photo: Paul Spijkers via Wikimedia.

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Aeroflot from Miami

Miami had a 10% share of Aeroflot’s US seats in 2019, according to OAG data, which has risen to 15% in the current year. Capacity has grown steadily. In summer 2019, there were four-weekly flights, with COVID reducing that by just one. (Naturally, Miami has more service during the winter.)

Aeroflot to the USA
This is Aeroflot’s US network between 2004 and 2021. Those in yellow still exist, while those in red do not. San Francisco was last served in 2004 (it operated via Seattle), while Seattle itself ceased the following year. Image: GCMap.

Miami had an 84% seat load factor

In 2019, Aeroflot had an 84% seat load factor (SLF) to/from Miami, according to the USA’s Department of Transportation’s T-100 statistics. This was higher than JFK (82%) and Dulles (83%), but lower than Los Angeles (86%).

Significantly, the Florida airport had the highest point-to-point (P2P) fare, even when spread over miles. According to booking data obtained via OAG Traffic Analyzer, the P2P passenger revenue per mile for Miami-Sheremetyevo was $0.111, excluding taxes and any fuel surcharge. In contrast, it was $0.102 for Los Angeles, $0.099 for JFK, and just $0.078 for Dulles. This suggests that Miami had a good mix of premium passengers.

Aeroflot Airbus A350
Since Miami started, it has primarily used low-density A330-200s with 229 seats, but it is now mainly by 316-seat A350-900s. These have 28 seats in business, 24 in comfort, and 264 in economy. Photo: Getty Images.

Miami to Sheremetyevo and beyond

While Sheremetyevo-Miami had decent levels of P2P traffic, in 2019, over 48,000 round-trip passengers transited the Moscow hub. Of these, some ~15,000 were connected to other Russian destinations.

The largest origin and destination (O&D), however, was Miami-Tel Aviv, although it had only ~4,000 passengers. As is often the case, transit traffic comprises a good quantity of small-volume O&Ds. The likes of Minsk, Yekaterinburg, Delhi, Vilnius, Cairo, Almaty, and Larnaca were all within the top-10 transit O&Ds, booking data shows.

The author has flown Aeroflot a few times, including aboard the Il-96, Sukhoi Superjet, A310-300, B777-300ER, and A330-300. Have you flown Aeroflot to/from the US? If so, what were your experiences? Share them in the comments.