Hello LHMark and Amir!
I do share your mythical vision of the IL62. As far as I know, this plane has had a very successful and important role with the airlines that operate(d) it. Its capacity for 150 passengers and range of 10,000km gives a lot of flexibility for the airlines. It has been the B767 or the A340 (in terms of big range and small capacity; the known "long and thin" routes) of the East block for a long time (the first time a IL62 made a regular, scheduled and commercial flight was in 10th March 1967). Thanks to this model, Aeroflot was able to cover the majority of African and Asian destins, many of them served exclusivitly by Aeroflot, as they are forgotten by European and American airlines due to the poverty of the market. But, due to these good atributes of the Ilyushin (except the fuel consuption), Aeroflot could even extract income from these markets.
Sincerely, I think it was the best plane made by the Soviet in terms of operational profitability if we analyse the political and time context: carrying few passengers and flying long distances, the model was very well suited for airlines from the Eastern Block. Definitely, it's a niche of market very difficult to be refulfilled. Maybe the Tu-234 (99 to 166 passengers, bi-jet, up to 9530km) will be the decendent of the IL62 if we talk about roles. The IL62 is a venerable veteran which had (and still has! It's a very longevous plane) an extremely important role on establishing links with far people from poor and isolated places of the Earth.
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Photo © Bernd Sturm
TP343, São Paulo, Brazil.