OK... you guys asked for it...
I will start by saying: Aeroflot do not want to operate Russian aircraft.
That should be clear for anyone to see.
Aeroflot don't care about their Il-96-300s. One simple example I will use is the blankets. On both of the flights I took with SU
Il-96's, the blankets were covered in long blonde hair. How many flights has this been used on since it was last washed? Would you want to cover yourself with that on a 10-hour flight? I didn't. On the same route flown by an A-310, the blankets were fresh, new, and in sealed bags. Just one small example.
Now, think about someone who doesn't know (or care) where the metal tube they are flying in was produced. Small superficial things start to reflect badly on the type of aircraft, especially when they connect in SVO
and continue to western Europe on an A-310 (also with Aeroflot) which has a bright interior and new blankets. "Russian planes are crap" .. because they got a filthy blanket.
The specification for the six Il-96-300s that Aeroflot currently have 'on order' with VASO has been constantly changed. The airline does not want to take delivery of them. At the very least, they want them to have full western-style interiors - not 'as-is'.
With an airframe costing tens of millions of dollars, superficial upgrades are not going to make a huge increase in the final cost. I'm talking about carpets, wall panels, ceilings, seats and toilets. Maybe even a bit of an exterior scrub (a la Air France) every few years. I'm not
talking about PTV's. Yes, sophisticated IFE would be nice, but just basic (read: relatively inexpensive) improvements would go 95% of the way to making it more appealing to the elusive 'rich foreigners' that Aeroflot seeks.
capable of installing nice interiors in their aircraft. The Tu-154M I took to Murmansk was magnificent inside. A thousand times better than their 737 interiors. Bright, clean, comfortable.. perfect.
Now Aeroflot has shown it's hand (with the whole 777 / Ilyushin-96M+T fiasco / see my final post on this thread: http://www.airliners.net/discussions/general_aviation/read.main/1106160
) they are unlikely to be able to increase the number
of foreign aircraft in their fleet - more on this later.
When you hear about all these orders for however many Airbuses and new Boeings, keep in mind that they are being brought into the fleet to replace existing foreign types. It is simply a fleet restructuring/rationalisation move (so we are told).
Fair enough, Aeroflot want to fly nice western planes.
I love Russian (and Ukrainian) aircraft, but let's be brutally honest. No airline in existence today would want to have an aircraft in it's fleet that is called a Tupolev or an Ilyushin if there is another one called Boeing or Airbus available instead.
Now, having said that. Aeroflot still want to operate more foreign aircraft. They can't, because there are huge import duties on these products (see the last post in the same thread I have linked to a bit higher up in this post for more information). It is also a very political issue, just like it is in the USA and France. Everyone wants to see their products being successful, and it's a slap in the face when your national carrier orders a foreign competitor's product.
The only way Aeroflot can get additional Boeings and Airbuses is to have these barriers removed. The 'justification' for the high tariffs is that Russia has an 'equivalent' product, therefore protecting it from foreign competition.
However... If Aeroflot is seen to be having problems with it, and makes the Il-96-300 look sufficiently bad, it no longer is an 'equivalent'.
So they go begging.. we are such a poor airline.. we need to compete internationally.. the local products are sooooo bad.. throw me a Boeing here.. ok? (oh yeah, and don't charge me tax for it).
So, the point I'm trying to make with this long and boring post, is that it is in Aeroflot's interest to berate and degrade Russian products, because they want Boeings, but are forced to take Ilyushins while the barriers are in place.
Aeroflot want to be a successful airline. Fair enough. They don't care about the domestic industry... why should they?
umm.. except for the fact that Aeroflot is 51% owned by the Russian Government.
Who will pay for the social and economic consequences of tens of thousands of highly skilled workers being unemployed in the Volga industrial cities? leaving Russia completely? I dont know... who will that hurt? maybe the owners