Russia’s S7 Airlines has one of commercial aviation’s most striking liveries. Its all-green paint scheme has been applied to a wide variety of aircraft over time, of which one such design has been the Airbus A310. The carrier operated this model for a decade in the 2000s and 2010s, totaling nine examples across two variants. Let’s examine the story further.
According to data from ch-aviation.com, the most numerous A310 variant at S7 Airlines was the A310-200. Of the nine A310s that the carrier operated, five of them belonged to this version of the Airbus widebody. The carrier received its first A310-200 in May 2005.
This aircraft, VP-BSY, had previously flown in an all-economy setup for German leisure carrier Hapag-Lloyd Flug, sporting 271 seats. However, it, and S7’s other A310-200s, was reconfigured with 14 business class and 241 economy class seats when it transferred to Russia. The other four A310-200s had joined S7 within 14 months of VP-BSY’s arrival.
All but one of these aircraft came from the aforementioned German leisure carrier. The fifth, VP-BTM, had previously served Cyprus Airways and Eagle Aviation France. Sadly, all five had been stored by 2011, with the last being scrapped in Amman, Jordan in 2019.
While the A310-300 was visually identical to the aforementioned -200 variant, it did offer operators the advantage of an increased range. S7 Airlines’ remaining four A310s belonged to this variant, and they arrived in 2004 and 2005. Indeed, the first two examples came to the carrier before the -200s, arriving in June 2004 on lease from Airbus.
Owing to this, these two-class 205-seaters still bore French registrations. Tragically, F-OGYP was involved in an accident in Irkutsk in July 2006 in which it overshot the runway on landing, with the resulting crash killing 125 of its 203 occupants. Meanwhile, the second French-registered A310-300, F-OGYQ, left for Spanish carrier Air Comet in September 2007.
2005 saw S7 Airlines receive its other two A310-300s. The first arrived from Aeroflot in March that year, once again sporting a French registration and 205 seats across two classes. It was re-registered as VQ-BAH in 2008, and stored for scrapping in Mississippi in 2009.
S7’s final A310-300, registered as VP-BTJ, once again came from Germany’s Hapag-Lloyd Flug. It joined the airline in December 2005, and proved to be its longest-serving A310. All in all, it serves the carrier for eight years before being stored in Orlando, Florida in 2013. it was re-registered as N551GA for GA Telesis, and scrapped shortly after.
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Increasingly rare today
Since S7 disposed of its last A310, the type has become an increasingly rare phenomenon in the skies and at airports around the world. Indeed, Simple Flying reported last month that just 10 were left in passenger-carrying operation, spread across four airlines. Perhaps the coolest example still flying is F-WNOV, which conducts zero-gravity flights in Europe.
Did you ever fly on one of S7 Airlines’ Airbus A310s? If so, what was the experience like? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments!