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Old Aeroflot : The Best Airline Ever?  
User currently offlineAlberchico From United States of America, joined Sep 2004, 2960 posts, RR: 0
Posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 11390 times:

The old giant Aeroflot (1923-1991) , was it a perfect company for its employees??? For management there was no competition and everything was heavily subsidized, had full government support, and the biggest fleet of planes in the world. For employees there was lifetime employment with no chance of getting laid off. For their standards the airline was an incredible success until the fall of the Soviet Union. Since there will be no other company like in size and scope of operations, does that place it in the annals of aviation as one of the most unique spectacular airlines ever ???


short summary of every jewish holiday: they tried to kill us ,we won , lets eat !
37 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineTreg From Estonia, joined Oct 2001, 538 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 11298 times:

I guess it was as "the best" as the entire USSR was "the best". You cannot compare USSR companies to any normal companies. There was no business logic behind it. Everything was dictated from "above"

User currently offlineSEPilot From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 7202 posts, RR: 50
Reply 2, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 11226 times:

Didn't Aeroflot have one of the worst safety records in the world, even worse than many third world airlines? I would hardly call that a success.


The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
User currently offlineLGAtoIND From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 490 posts, RR: 1
Reply 3, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 11129 times:

If you consider a horrendous safety record to be indicative of "the best airline ever" then sure!!!

User currently offlineFlexo From St. Helena, joined Mar 2007, 406 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 11049 times:

Lifetime employment? That also means that you don't have to do good in your job as you can't get laid off anyway.
That is really the root of the problems with socialistic economies, they are only good for people that don't want to do anything!


User currently offlinePylon101 From Russia, joined Feb 2008, 1609 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 11034 times:

No, safety record was not that bad - you can check it through various sites.

But an airline that big - it carried 110 million passengers in 1989 - really sucked.
We used to say by then: "Everything sucks - until you take off".
And this was true. The main problem was infrastructure: airports and service on the ground.
Delays were usual.
Shortages of fuel were usual, especially in the 80ies.

You raised a big theme.
I personally don't miss those times - but many people do.

Still I would like to stress this point again: due to very strict government control and high standards - the safety record was completely satisfactory and comparable to European or US aviation - that's for sure.


User currently offlineEatmybologna From France, joined Apr 2005, 412 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 11022 times:

It's easy for a business to gleam with success if there's no competition.


Isn't knowledge more than just the acquisition of information? Shouldn't the acquired information be correct?
User currently offlinePhilb From Ireland, joined May 1999, 2915 posts, RR: 13
Reply 7, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 10994 times:

The old Aeroflot was hardly an airline in the accepted sense of the word. It had responsibility for all forms of civilian aviation in the USSR and a large proportion of the state's military cargo and transport capacity.

Whilst the employees' jobs may have been safe and the airline provided work for the aircraft industry of the USSR, the standard of passenger service was dire, safety standards sometimes came second to finishing the task in hand - though, in fairness, in terms of total hours flown and the vast range of tasks, terrain and weather encountered, the safety record was not as bad as sometimes painted - and few, if any, flights turned a real profit. The national passenger airline type services were there to move people over vast distances quickly, the ancillary services (crop dusting, movement of equipment, transport of officials etc.) were there to do a job at whatever cost and many local services were there as the only sensible method of communication for remote areas.

The international services, once the USSR decided to use Aeroflot to carry the Hammer and Sickle as a political statement around the world, mainly carried Soviet diplomats and trade envoys until the Soviet Union opened up to some tourism and also found a niche market in cheap flights to various parts of the world over Moscow, though most flights to so called third world countries were far more about flag flying than offering a method of transportation to/from the USSR.

All in all Aeroflot was a one off. That said, there is no doubt that the love of aviation amongst many of its staff was just as strong and of the same order as that of many airline employees in the rest of the world.


User currently offlinePylon101 From Russia, joined Feb 2008, 1609 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 10928 times:

Well said, Philb.

I just wanted to add that there was a very good school of teaching pilots in USSR.
Colleges of Civil Aviation were very popular. Requirements were high.
First two year of studying there were fully like in the army.
The whole teaching course was 5 years - and it was considered university level.

After that all graduates started with AN-24 or YAK-40.

I'd say the pilot traditions were great.

Interesting that these days the system of preparing pilots didn't change - at least as a system.
Probably it makes sense.


User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 26029 posts, RR: 22
Reply 9, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 10905 times:



Quoting SEPilot (Reply 2):
Didn't Aeroflot have one of the worst safety records in the world, even worse than many third world airlines? I would hardly call that a success.

If memory correct the old Aeroflot, although they used one name, was like many separate companies operating everything from single-engine aircraft to longhaul international routes. Their safety record on domestic routes wasn't the best,and not all accdients were even reported unless foreigners were involved. However SU's international operations had a good saety record. They had very few accidents outside the Soviet Union.


User currently offlinePylon101 From Russia, joined Feb 2008, 1609 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 10817 times:

It's not correct.

We, who were interested in aviation, knew about all accidents on domestic routes.

It was a kind of law or ethics- or whatever - but authorities always published condolences in newspapers.

We didn't have access to investigation results; there were no National Geographic movies - but we knew.


User currently offlineAwthompson From United Kingdom, joined May 2005, 509 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 10571 times:



Quoting LGAtoIND (Reply 3):
If you consider a horrendous safety record to be indicative of "the best airline ever" then sure!!!



Quoting SEPilot (Reply 2):
Didn't Aeroflot have one of the worst safety records in the world, even worse than many third world airlines? I would hardly call that a success.

I would not be convinced that Aeroflot's safety record was much worse than western airlines during the same time period. Were there many more accidents per flight hour or per passenger carried than the world average at the time? ..... maybe.... but not by a long shot?

I believe that those old workhorses were indeed workhorses ie. TU-134, TU-154 and IL-62. Although uneconomic with today's fuel prices, they were very sturdy aeroplanes.


User currently offlinePhilB From Ireland, joined May 1999, 2915 posts, RR: 13
Reply 12, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 10550 times:



Quoting Awthompson (Reply 11):
TU-134, TU-154 and IL-62. Although uneconomic with today's fuel prices, they were very sturdy aeroplanes.

You can add the IL-18, which was economic to fly. An excellent workhorse and very interesting to fly in compared to the Vickers Vanguard - only wish I could have tried the L188 as well.


User currently offlineXtoler From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 954 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 10470 times:

Where are the old retired Aeroflot pilots now? They had a great pension? Maybe if some joined the "party" and made some money on the side they are doing okay. But legitmate living and making it, I doubt it. With luck some aren't quite retirement age and they are flying for someone else, or they are stuck flying with Aeroflot just to keep their heads above water.

That reminds me, I found a book in my local library about Aerflot. The book came out in 1972, but for a history buff like me it may be worth a read.



EMB145 F/A, F/E, J41 F/A, F/E, because my wife clipped my wings, armchair captain
User currently offlineTy134A From Austria, joined Apr 2008, 195 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 9998 times:



Quoting Awthompson (Reply 11):
I believe that those old workhorses were indeed workhorses ie. TU-134, TU-154 and IL-62. Although uneconomic with today's fuel prices, they were very sturdy aeroplanes.

As far as I know, the Il-62 had some constructional weaknesses, mainly resulting from the layout of the aircraft, and the characteristic engine arrangement. There were several accidents resulting from technical reasons, but other than that, Russian planes are very safe from a technical point of view. I have seen some time ago published a (not Russian) paper in which they listed up all types and accidents. After splitting the causes into technical/design error and human error it was clear that the Russian planes did very well compared to the western planes, but all factors together, things looked slightly different. BUT Aeroflot never ever had a safety record comparable to the ones of the "third world", even considering the conditions Aeroflot operated, lack of everything and harsh climate... from that point of view, I would say a job well done... would be fun to see how DL or AA would do under such circumstances... maybe remember projects such as Value Jet!!!

By the way, can anybody come up with some crashes of Soviet/Russian airliners due to constructional or technical weakness, and maybe some "western" aircrafts, would be interesting after all how the Russian jets are doing after the Russian aviation is getting (got) back on tracks (not to think of the time after 1991, remember?!?!?!)...



flown on:TU3,TU5,IL8,IL6,ILW,IL9,I14,A40,YK4,YK2,AN4,A26,A28,A81,L11,D1C,M11,AB4,313,342,345,703,722,732,741,74L,J31,F50
User currently offlineRJ111 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 9205 times:



Quoting Ty134A (Reply 14):
and the characteristic engine arrangement

I believe it suffered from contageous engine failures. Meaning it could have all the disadvantages of a quad, with all the disadvantages of a twin.


User currently offlineBoeingFever777 From United States of America, joined Jul 2009, 409 posts, RR: 53
Reply 16, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 9077 times:



Quoting Pylon101 (Reply 5):
No, safety record was not that bad - you can check it through various sites.

Aerflot fatal accidents.

Are you serious? Please... Between 1953 and 1998 SU had over 125 fatal accidents in which 99% of all passengers and crew were lost that are on record. As far as the thread starter states: Their standards and success... "They had very low standards"

That is over 6,800 dead passengers. That is more that the WTC in 2001 and US Soldiers killed in Iraq since 2003 combined.

Their safety record is horrible and when split in 1992 in separated into more than 300 airlines.

Big yes... Safe and successful... not even a chance in hell.



Faire du ciel le plus bel endroit de la terre.
User currently offlineNG1Fan From Australia, joined Aug 2007, 446 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 8773 times:

If you've ever visited the Soviet Union prior to 1991, then you would have noticed the surliness of the front-line employees (like in shops, gov't departments, those needing to deal with Joe Public). Employees pretended to work, all the while their employers pretended to pay them. Some of that mentality is still evident, but thankfully, becoming rarer.

I guess now flying in Russia on Russian airlines, you get some great flight attendants, and some bad apples among them also. A bit like the US, I guess.

As for safety, the Russian flying public perceives western-made aircraft as safer, more comfortable and more prestigious to fly than their Russian-made counterparts. While some of this is perception, there is a basis of fact in all this. For example, the Yak-42 had some early troubles when launched, with some fatal accidents (no idea how many, just going what I heard my Russian colleagues tell me).

Best place to work? Hardly I would have thought.

NG1Fan


User currently offlineMEA-707 From Netherlands, joined Nov 1999, 4360 posts, RR: 35
Reply 18, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 8617 times:

Quoting BoeingFever777 (Reply 16):
That is over 6,800 dead passengers. That is more that the WTC in 2001 and US Soldiers killed in Iraq since 2003 combined.

Their safety record is horrible and when split in 1992 in separated into more than 300 airlines.

Again, please keep in mind that all air transportation was called "Aeroflot". This figure also counts for militaries in Il-76s shot at above Afghanistan.
And please keep in mind western airlines also had much more crashes between 1953 and 1989 then they have nowadays.
Pan Am had almost 1500 dead passengers and had probably 10 times less passengers as Aeroflot in the same period.
Air France also had many accidents and 1000 dead passengers between 1953 and 1970 (they are fine since then) and maybe 25 times less passengers as Aeroflot.
Thanks to research for instance by the writers of "Soviet Transports", most accidents are now researched and accounted for. It was one single Yak-42 accident in 1982 for instance which lead to a grounding and redesign which took 2 years. This is a sign for me that the Soviet authorities took safety serious.
The Il-86 and Il-96 never had a crash killing passengers on board while more of 100 were built (two incidents killing crew though).
Some safety issues with planes were mainly in other countries flying Soviet types. For instance LOT, Interflug and Cubana each had two fatal Il-62 crashes which is a bad record as they each made less then 100.000 flights in total with their Il-62 fleet. But in contrast, the Il-62 did fine in Aeroflot service, 2 fatal accidents is acceptible as Aeroflot had about 150 flying in the 1970s and 80s. Also the fact Antonovs keep falling off the sky in Africa doesn't help the perception of "Soviet aerospace"

[Edited 2008-04-25 03:31:26]


nobody has ever died from hard work, but why take the risk?
User currently offlinePhilb From Ireland, joined May 1999, 2915 posts, RR: 13
Reply 19, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 7986 times:

MEA-707 you are absolutely accurate. Most people in the US and other parts of the world who comment on the Soviet era Aeroflot have only a sketchy idea of what that organisation was and did.

It was everything bad that is said about it in terms of service and it had a high body count but there are lies, damn lies and statistics and your comparisons give the lie to the myth that Aeroflot, on an even playing field, was horrendously worse than any other airline.

The only true comparison between, say, Aeroflot and the US aviation safety record between 1945 and 1990 is to take every accident in both countries (you can exclude US pleasure flying - there was little in the USSR - but, to be accurate, include corporate aircraft, or any aircraft on any sort of business or paid for operation inc crop spraying or military transportation and training flghts with flying schools). The body count needs then to be totalled in each and compared. To get an absolutely accurate comparison the fatalities need to be computed on a deaths per x miles or x hours flown basis - a major task at this juncture.

From the fairly extensive records now available from Russia, and checking against NTSB and USAF records, once the comparison is on an equal footing, the picture starts to change.


User currently offlinePylon101 From Russia, joined Feb 2008, 1609 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 7468 times:



Quoting MEA-707 (Reply 18):
The Il-86 and Il-96 never had a crash killing passengers on board while more of 100 were built (two incidents killing crew though).

Seems to be one: IL-86 Pulkovo at SVO.
What would be the second?
There was "forgotten gear down landing" at DXB - but all there fine there.


User currently offlineMEA-707 From Netherlands, joined Nov 1999, 4360 posts, RR: 35
Reply 21, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 7242 times:



Quoting Pylon101 (Reply 20):
What would be the second?

I thought about the Il-86 in Delhi which was struck in 1994 by a crashing 737 and some Aeroflot staff on the ground was killed. Hardly counts as a Il-86 crash of course.

On the other hand I wrote down above post from memory. Later research at aviation-safety.net shows Cubana "only" had one Il-62 crash while Aeroflot had 4, but still my point is valid.



nobody has ever died from hard work, but why take the risk?
User currently offlineIah3holer From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 6 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 7002 times:

Treg, it's about time you Estonians get over your Russia/USSR-bashing. It's getting old!

User currently offlinePylon101 From Russia, joined Feb 2008, 1609 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 6805 times:



Quoting MEA-707" class=quote target=_blank>MEA-707 (Reply 21):
Quoting Pylon101 (Reply 20):
What would be the second?

I thought about the Il-86 in Delhi which was struck in 1994 by a crashing 737 and some Aeroflot staff on the ground was killed. Hardly counts as a Il-86 crash of course.

Gosh, I completely forgot about that episode. Thanks for reminding, MEA-707.

By the how MEA is doing after all those sad events?
I love Beiruth and Lebanon, have been there twice.
Such a nice country.


User currently offlineJoeman From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 786 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (6 years 8 months 1 week 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 6534 times:

Interesting data concerning the original and vast "Aerolfot" has been provided above. I can't help but think about the current U.S. carrier potential trend toward consolidation.

25 Pylon101 : Hm.. It would be interesting to end up in a kind of Orwellian world: Air America Air Asia Air AfroAsutralia Air Europe. Enough troubles for people! An
26 BoeingFever777 : 03.27.1990 Aeroflot Ilyushin IL-76 11:11 Kabul, Afghanistan SSSR-78781 06.12.1990 Aeroflot Ilyushin IL-76 10:10 Kabul, Afghanistan SSSR-86905 (2) acc
27 Pylon101 : BoeingFever777, It appears that nice talk turns into ugly one. The question of reliability of Aeroflot in USSR years was analyzed for many times with
28 L410Turbolet : Please just don't be so naive. What it is is a proof how things can drag on forever if there is no motivation. Misery of socialist economy at its wor
29 IronDuke08 : I believe the new name is Deltaflot...
30 Jimbobjoe : Considering the fact that Aeroflot was basically the size of the top 5 US airlines and the US military (air) services combined it isn't bad. Quite a
31 KochamLOT : I agree. But what about those planes? Old school..... the reliability/safety record of those planes probably would keep the pilots on their toes flyi
32 Samalot1 : privet pylon 101 I was lucky enough to fly on the IL62 from snn thru to scl , fantastict crew (cccp) red uniforrms , great service ! it really was , n
33 Pylon101 : To Santiago? So it was before 1973, I guess. Then it was the longest SU flight ever.
34 AirAmericaC46 : Hello Samalot1-----Thanks for sharing your SU airline service experience. Hope to hear some more from others. Off-topic: Can we enumerate some (if not
35 JetJeanes : From what i had read there was widespread alcoholism at aeroflot and it was nothing to talk about as it was widely accepted in every capacity within t
36 Post contains links Sovietjet : I swear some people's ignorance is amazing. Go look up the statistics...Aeroflot easily had over 15,000 aircraft and a bunch of them operated in mise
37 MD11Engineer : I did my apprenticeship with the former Interflug maintenance facility in SXF (by this time owned by LH). Most employees were former Interflug staff.
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