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sanssouci
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Interflug / old Aeroflot crew rosters

Mon Apr 19, 2021 3:09 am

Hello Anetters,

Does anyone here have any information on how Interflug and Aeroflot used to schedule its crews and how their pairings were built? I would imagine Interflug had only international network given a tiny size of what used to be DDR. Where did they have crew bases and how did they crew flights out of airports other than SXF? Did they have a lot of ferry/positioning flights? I also heard (nothing factual) that many crew members were also Stasi employees. Is there any truth to it? It wouldn't surprise me if it were true, given that 30% of DDR population was employed by Stasi as informants. It would make sense for someone in a position of an IF crew to be "in touch" with Stasi on some level.

With respect to Aeroflot, how did they manage their massive domestic network? Was there one big crew base in Moscow (with co-terminals) or did each Moscow airport have its own crew base (I know SVO had its own international base, but what about SVO domestic flights)? When they flew long haul routs to cities like VVO, where did they layover and how long were those layovers? Were Aeroflot crews seen in nicer downtown Intourist hotels on domestic layovers? How was the whole thing managed? Were some of them employed by KGB?

There is very little information on inner workings of old Eastern Block carriers and it would be much appreciated if anybody could shed some light on it.
 
Flyingsottsman
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Re: Interflug / old Aeroflot crew rosters

Mon Apr 19, 2021 11:20 am

I am so interested in the eastern Block carriers in th4e old Soviet times, I wonder if those airlines lost crews who escaped to the West when they flew into a Western European Country, and I wonder if they had members of the Government or secret police traveling with them to stop them from trying to escape say when they flew to a city like London?
 
Noshow
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Re: Interflug / old Aeroflot crew rosters

Mon Apr 19, 2021 11:49 am

If you can read german here is some interesting book written by their former ops boss and senior pilot Horst Materna.
https://www.verlag-rockstuhl.de/Horst-Materna

Not the usual grumpy old men self centered history but covering some of the topics you were asking for. There are several issues covering certain historic time periods.
https://www.hugendubel.de/de/buch_gebun ... write=true
 
USAirALB
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Re: Interflug / old Aeroflot crew rosters

Mon Apr 19, 2021 12:04 pm

IIRC, Eastern Bloc carriers required that the FAs had to be married, which usually eliminated the risk of the defection while operating flights to Western Europe.
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Noshow
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Re: Interflug / old Aeroflot crew rosters

Mon Apr 19, 2021 12:16 pm

They had a split system for western and eastern destinations flight attentants. The first ones only being available to super reliable staff. Any divorce just brewing and you were not considered "reliable" enough anymore. Being married with kids and party member? Reliable.
You can guess how much they were monitored and had to spy on each other. The most reliable were scheduled for secret police prisoner transport flights, arms transports, VIP and such being paid hard currency this time.
 
cedarjet
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Re: Interflug / old Aeroflot crew rosters

Mon Apr 19, 2021 1:11 pm

There’s finally a book about Interflug in English by Airliner World contributor Sebastian Schmitz which has several chapters about crew rostering and the role of the state security services and who was allowed to operate flights to the west etc. Also a triumph of graphic design which is rare for books like this. You’re welcome

https://the-airline-boutique.myshopify. ... an-schmitz
fly Saha Air 707s daily from Tehran's downtown Mehrabad to Mashhad, Kish Island and Ahwaz
 
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usdcaguy
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Re: Interflug / old Aeroflot crew rosters

Mon Apr 19, 2021 4:06 pm

Definitely an interesting time in history. The unpleasant nature of living in the DDR must have been hard on East Germans, who likely wanted to travel and see the world, but then how many of them could acquire exit visas, and of those, how many were there? I imagine that Interflug would have been used primarily by trustworthy party members and foreigners who could pay for their tickets in hard currency. Profitability at the carrier likely took a back seat to utility as part of the socialist economic model. It would have been interesting to see how flight planning took place under the guise of utility and exactly how much the East German government had to support the carrier monetarily.
 
VSMUT
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Re: Interflug / old Aeroflot crew rosters

Mon Apr 19, 2021 4:35 pm

usdcaguy wrote:
The unpleasant nature of living in the DDR must have been hard on East Germans, who likely wanted to travel and see the world, but then how many of them could acquire exit visas, and of those, how many were there?


Probably worth noting that most people in western Europe didn't travel and see the world very much back in those days either. Air travel was still out of reach of the masses in the west. It was still holidays on the beaches by the Mediterranean for us in the west, and beaches by the black sea for those in the east.
 
Noshow
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Re: Interflug / old Aeroflot crew rosters

Mon Apr 19, 2021 5:41 pm

The airline traveling public in the east was tiny compared to what became usual flying in the west from the 1970s. Go to the mediterranean once a year by plane. In east Germany you as the average Joe we're very lucky to go domestic to the baltic coast by train. Bulgaria or Hungary were most exotic places for only a few.
 
oldJoe
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Re: Interflug / old Aeroflot crew rosters

Mon Apr 19, 2021 6:14 pm

USAirALB wrote:
IIRC, Eastern Bloc carriers required that the FAs had to be married, which usually eliminated the risk of the defection while operating flights to Western Europe.


From my own experience I have to contradict. I took in the late 80`s Aeoflot flight LUX - SNN - YQX - HAV - LIM. On the last leg there was two young russian FA`s ( to my surprise ) which told me in which Hotel they stay for the week. Next day I went there and met the two and invited them to my flat. Both stayed with me overnight and I can say for sure they was not married and had no children at all because I married later on one of them.
 
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TWA772LR
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Re: Interflug / old Aeroflot crew rosters

Mon Apr 19, 2021 6:48 pm

I love these kinds of threads! Best part or a.net :)

oldJoe wrote:
USAirALB wrote:
IIRC, Eastern Bloc carriers required that the FAs had to be married, which usually eliminated the risk of the defection while operating flights to Western Europe.


From my own experience I have to contradict. I took in the late 80`s Aeoflot flight LUX - SNN - YQX - HAV - LIM. On the last leg there was two young russian FA`s ( to my surprise ) which told me in which Hotel they stay for the week. Next day I went there and met the two and invited them to my flat. Both stayed with me overnight and I can say for sure they was not married and had no children at all because I married later on one of them.

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Galwayman
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Re: Interflug / old Aeroflot crew rosters

Mon Apr 19, 2021 8:37 pm

sanssouci wrote:
Hello Anetters,

Does anyone here have any information on how Interflug and Aeroflot used to schedule its crews and how their pairings were built? I would imagine Interflug had only international network given a tiny size of what used to be DDR. Where did they have crew bases and how did they crew flights out of airports other than SXF? Did they have a lot of ferry/positioning flights? I also heard (nothing factual) that many crew members were also Stasi employees. Is there any truth to it? It wouldn't surprise me if it were true, given that 30% of DDR population was employed by Stasi as informants. It would make sense for someone in a position of an IF crew to be "in touch" with Stasi on some level.

With respect to Aeroflot, how did they manage their massive domestic network? Was there one big crew base in Moscow (with co-terminals) or did each Moscow airport have its own crew base (I know SVO had its own international base, but what about SVO domestic flights)? When they flew long haul routs to cities like VVO, where did they layover and how long were those layovers? Were Aeroflot crews seen in nicer downtown Intourist hotels on domestic layovers? How was the whole thing managed? Were some of them employed by KGB?

There is very little information on inner workings of old Eastern Block carriers and it would be much appreciated if anybody could shed some light on it.


Aeroflot's biggest international layover station was Shannon in Ireland where they operated an amazing scissors hub to the Americas with fifth freedom rights to Mexico City , Havanah etc .... those were such fantastic flights at brilliant prices when I was a student. Nearby Shannon town was always full of dodgy political activitists , dodgy Russians in leather jackets , lots of Lybian 'students' making frequent rips to the North etc ..political @activists @ from Northern Ireland . The rumour on the ground was that the Russians were there to protect the Aeroflot base etc .....and they sold cheap duty free cigarettes on the side ....
 
dcajet
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Re: Interflug / old Aeroflot crew rosters

Mon Apr 19, 2021 9:15 pm

The GDR TV had a show back in the 80s "Treffpunkt Flughafen" that followed the lives and times of a fictional Interflug flight & cabin crew. Not exactly the real thing but close enough to see them in places such as Hanoi, Havana and on board their IL-62M. It is interesting how the show portrayed destinations the average GDR citizen could only dream of, while at the same time, reminding them of the superiority of the communist way of life back home, in case they got any "ideas"...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwsQdkcCrtk
Keep calm and wash your hands.
 
kaitak
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Re: Interflug / old Aeroflot crew rosters

Mon Apr 19, 2021 9:36 pm

Is it not correct to say that Interflug was actually a division of the E German air force and so Interflug crews were actually E German air force officers?

I am fascinated by E Bloc carriers and IF itself, which has probably one of the best, if not the best, of the E European carriers. It's probably not a massive leap to say that although the standard of living in E Germany was well below that in the west, being an Interflug crewmember had a very high status in the country and for that reason, employment with the airline would be highly sought after and therefore, the crews would be highly reliable, politically speaking. Because they were of high status and (in the case of flight crews, at least) military officers, defection was probably the last thing on their minds. They had a good quality of life in E Germany, relatively speaking.

After the fall of the wall, the collapse of E Germany and ultimately, IF itself, many of the crews got employment with other carriers. The captain of the Hellas 737 that crashed near Athens was a former IF pilot and I know of one who joined EVA Air and ended up as a 744 captain (quite a leap from flying Tu-134s and/or IL62s!). I'm sure there were many other examples of IF crews who flew for airlines in the ME and Asia.

I remember hearing a story about the crew of an IF A310 that went on a rather "unusual" tour around Moscow after a go around went spectacularly wrong. It went into a very scary series of maneuvers, during which one of the flight crew was heard to mutter something along the lines of "stupid capitalist technology"!
 
debonair
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Re: Interflug / old Aeroflot crew rosters

Mon Apr 19, 2021 10:19 pm

Flyingsottsman wrote:
I am so interested in the eastern Block carriers in th4e old Soviet times, I wonder if those airlines lost crews who escaped to the West when they flew into a Western European Country,


Why would they, honestly?! The "Westerners" enjoyed a privileged life with benefits, like working in exotic destinations like Cuba, shopping abroad, private travel benefits etc.! There was absolutely no desire to escape...
On the other hand, crews not being member of this preselected, handpicked elite pool of staff just saw one direction: SowjetUnion! And there was absolutely no possibility to escape from...
 
sanssouci
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Re: Interflug / old Aeroflot crew rosters

Tue Apr 20, 2021 5:09 am

Flyingsottsman wrote:
I am so interested in the eastern Block carriers in th4e old Soviet times, I wonder if those airlines lost crews who escaped to the West when they flew into a Western European Country, and I wonder if they had members of the Government or secret police traveling with them to stop them from trying to escape say when they flew to a city like London?


From what I understand, state security forces of Eastern Block countries were omnipresent, especially in circumstances that had any type of dealings with the capitalist world. I have read that, just like Soviet TASS news agency and Amtorg trade office, Aeroflot often served as KGB's front company in foreign countries. This story is quite fascinating and proves that the Aeroflot representative in France wasn't a mere airline employee. He clearly was there with an assignment from KGB to steal Concorde's blueprints.

The head of the Paris office of Soviet airliner Aeroflot, Sergei Pavlov, recruited a network of French Communist Party members and paid informants to infiltrate the Toulouse, France, factory of Concorde manufacturer Aerospatiale.

https://www.history.com/news/the-cold-w ... e-concorde

But very little is known about the operational side of old Aeroflot, especially on their domestic side of things. I wonder how, in a pre-computer age, they planned and managed a schedule that spanned 11 time zones, both in terms of aircraft rotations and crew rostering.
 
seansasLCY
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Re: Interflug / old Aeroflot crew rosters

Tue Apr 20, 2021 6:38 am

debonair wrote:
Flyingsottsman wrote:
I am so interested in the eastern Block carriers in th4e old Soviet times, I wonder if those airlines lost crews who escaped to the West when they flew into a Western European Country,


Why would they, honestly?! The "Westerners" enjoyed a privileged life with benefits, like working in exotic destinations like Cuba, shopping abroad, private travel benefits etc.! There was absolutely no desire to escape...
On the other hand, crews not being member of this preselected, handpicked elite pool of staff just saw one direction: SowjetUnion! And there was absolutely no possibility to escape from...


Of course there can still be a desire to escape. Some people might have wanted to be able to do something without their neighbour reporting their every move or support a politician without ending up on a list and persecuted.

Look at North Korea. Even high level people such as diplomats have defected. Not everything comes down to a nice holiday and shopping.
 
VSMUT
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Re: Interflug / old Aeroflot crew rosters

Tue Apr 20, 2021 6:41 am

Noshow wrote:
The airline traveling public in the east was tiny compared to what became usual flying in the west from the 1970s. Go to the mediterranean once a year by plane. In east Germany you as the average Joe we're very lucky to go domestic to the baltic coast by train. Bulgaria or Hungary were most exotic places for only a few.


It wasn't normal in the 70s and 80s to go to the mediterranean once a year by plane. The air charter industry was beginning to rise, but it was still far from normal. The vast majority went by car, bus or train. It wasn't until the late 90s/early 2000s that air travel became a once-per-year thing for most in the west. Heck, going to school in one of the more well off parts of the country in the early 2000s, most of my classmates hadn't even stepped foot on an airplane yet.

Just to be clear, the crimes of the DDR was not that people couldn't go on holidays by plane. It was the political persecution, lack of democracy, lack of freedoms, torture, mass surveillance and murder.
 
factsonly
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Re: Interflug / old Aeroflot crew rosters

Tue Apr 20, 2021 8:17 am

Berlin Schönefeld - 1989 Apron:

- IF Il-18, Tu134, IL62
- LAM Mozambique DC10-30
- Austrian MD81

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tct96X63FAU
 
ghYHZ
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Re: Interflug / old Aeroflot crew rosters

Tue Apr 20, 2021 9:42 am

Growing up in Gander, Newfoundland……seeing IL-62’s and other Soviet aircraft from Aeroflot, Interflug, CSA-Czechoslovak and Cubana was a daily occurrence.

Aeroflot even maintained their own fuel supply here brought in by tanker to Lewisport, Nfld

During the stopover…..passengers were allowed into the terminal and many got their first taste of freedom and defected during the stopover. Canada would conveniently station an iconic ‘Mountie’…..RCMP Police Officer in the Gander Terminal that would be defectors could approach seeking asylum. Here’s an article from the ‘80s that appeared in the Chicago Tribune:

https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct- ... story.html

And just the past few days has seen several Cubana IL-96-300s in for fuel. Just like old times
 
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Revelation
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Re: Interflug / old Aeroflot crew rosters

Tue Apr 20, 2021 1:34 pm

ghYHZ wrote:
Growing up in Gander, Newfoundland……seeing IL-62’s and other Soviet aircraft from Aeroflot, Interflug, CSA-Czechoslovak and Cubana was a daily occurrence.

Aeroflot even maintained their own fuel supply here brought in by tanker to Lewisport, Nfld

During the stopover…..passengers were allowed into the terminal and many got their first taste of freedom and defected during the stopover. Canada would conveniently station an iconic ‘Mountie’…..RCMP Police Officer in the Gander Terminal that would be defectors could approach seeking asylum. Here’s an article from the ‘80s that appeared in the Chicago Tribune:

https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct- ... story.html

And just the past few days has seen several Cubana IL-96-300s in for fuel. Just like old times

I saw a documentary online about this period in Gander's history. It said that after the 707s and DC8s got enough range to do TATL without needing a refueling stop, Gander had to find a new niche, and they hit on this market of serving Eastern aircraft that still needed refueling stops. They even interviewed a few people who took the opportunity to defect. It was a very nice video. Sorry, I don't have a link, even after searching my u2b history...
Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world
The heart has its beaches, its homeland and thoughts of its own
Wake now, discover that you are the song that the morning brings
The heart has its seasons, its evenings and songs of its own
 
Noshow
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Re: Interflug / old Aeroflot crew rosters

Tue Apr 20, 2021 1:43 pm

Interflug ordered the A310-304 with extra tanks so they could skip the Gander fuel stop on the way to Havanna that the Il-62M had needed. Eliminating any risk of passengers fleeing.
 
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eta unknown
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Re: Interflug / old Aeroflot crew rosters

Tue Apr 20, 2021 3:24 pm

Some of the Eastern bloc carriers (LO, OK, RO, SU) had very infrequent service to JFK/YMX- often only twice/week. I don't know if the crew stayed in hotels or in the consulates.

Gander: IIRC the flights with the largest number of defectors were on Cubana.

As correctly stated upthread, the probability of these international crews defecting was extremely low as these people had special treatment. I'm also pretty sure the elite North Koreans who live in Pyongyang and shop at the hard currency store also aren't contemplating leaving.
 
ghYHZ
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Re: Interflug / old Aeroflot crew rosters

Tue Apr 20, 2021 5:30 pm

Photo Display in the Gander Aviation Museum including Fidel Castro playing in the snow during a stop over

Image

Image

Image

And a beautiful Cubana Il-96-300 at Gander last July

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYys4SPL_0o
 
oldJoe
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Re: Interflug / old Aeroflot crew rosters

Tue Apr 20, 2021 6:16 pm

Revelation wrote:
ghYHZ wrote:
Growing up in Gander, Newfoundland……seeing IL-62’s and other Soviet aircraft from Aeroflot, Interflug, CSA-Czechoslovak and Cubana was a daily occurrence.

Aeroflot even maintained their own fuel supply here brought in by tanker to Lewisport, Nfld

During the stopover…..passengers were allowed into the terminal and many got their first taste of freedom and defected during the stopover. Canada would conveniently station an iconic ‘Mountie’…..RCMP Police Officer in the Gander Terminal that would be defectors could approach seeking asylum. Here’s an article from the ‘80s that appeared in the Chicago Tribune:

https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct- ... story.html

And just the past few days has seen several Cubana IL-96-300s in for fuel. Just like old times

I saw a documentary online about this period in Gander's history. It said that after the 707s and DC8s got enough range to do TATL without needing a refueling stop, Gander had to find a new niche, and they hit on this market of serving Eastern aircraft that still needed refueling stops. They even interviewed a few people who took the opportunity to defect. It was a very nice video. Sorry, I don't have a link, even after searching my u2b history...


There is a video at youtube that describes exactly what you are telling us. Unfotunately it`s in German and would not help you so much.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nybYJiUEEYw

The most interesting thing of this video is how easy they could stay in Canada by saying only two words --- Save me ---

In this video I think the guy translates it into English https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HqimLyk3kNg
 
planenutz
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Re: Interflug / old Aeroflot crew rosters

Tue Apr 20, 2021 7:21 pm

I have always found this subject to be so interesting. My dad used to work for Pan Am at JFK in the late 80's. Pan Am was the handling agent for Aeroflot, and others including CSA and for at time Tarom.

He recalls some differences in how SU was handled at JFK at the time. For example, when onboarding crews, they were not allowed to board through the terminal, but by apron. Also, there was usually only one crew member that was allowed to interact with ground staff. Others weren't to be talked to, and if you tried, they would refer you to the designated person who could speak on their behalf. At least one member of the crew was "political", that is a KGB liaison (if not an outright KGB member) who reported on all activities of the crew while on the ground/layover.

Crews were transported to and from their accommodation by a specially selected transportation company arranged by the Soviet consulate. On one occasion, the crew bus was late getting to the airport because of heavy snow and poor weather and there was a freakout thinking the whole crew had defected.
Not all who wander are lost....
 
ScottB
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Re: Interflug / old Aeroflot crew rosters

Tue Apr 20, 2021 8:34 pm

sanssouci wrote:
But very little is known about the operational side of old Aeroflot, especially on their domestic side of things. I wonder how, in a pre-computer age, they planned and managed a schedule that spanned 11 time zones, both in terms of aircraft rotations and crew rostering.


It sounds complicated, but really isn't. You have to keep in mind that SU was basically a government agency, not a for-profit company, and thus the choices of routes and schedules were made on the direction of bureaucrats. The schedules didn't need to change frequently, if at all, and it's not as if the customers or crew could complain if they were arriving or departing at 3 AM. So you just figure everything out based on Moscow time and if that means you depart VVO at 3 AM then so be it. Much of the knowledge we have today about human factors regarding rest and time zone changes didn't exist then -- so if the pilots needed more coffee, they got more coffee.

IIRC SVO was pretty much only for international flights, with VKO and DME handling domestic.
 
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Revelation
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Re: Interflug / old Aeroflot crew rosters

Tue Apr 20, 2021 9:37 pm

oldJoe wrote:
There is a video at youtube that describes exactly what you are telling us. Unfotunately it`s in German and would not help you so much.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nybYJiUEEYw

Thanks, that is the one.

There is an English language version: https://zdf-enterprises.de/en/catalogue ... of-nowhere

I think I saw it on 'Curiosity Stream', anyone can see it for free if they sign up for a free trial and cancel within seven days: https://www.amazon.com/Gander-Internati ... B08BRZ2PNJ

The English version also seems to be on Apple TV and Sling TV.

I need to keep up on DuoLingo and maybe in five years I can watch the German one, lol!

oldJoe wrote:
In this video I think the guy translates it into English https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HqimLyk3kNg

I will add that to my queue, thanks!
Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world
The heart has its beaches, its homeland and thoughts of its own
Wake now, discover that you are the song that the morning brings
The heart has its seasons, its evenings and songs of its own
 
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YMX4ever
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Re: Interflug / old Aeroflot crew rosters

Tue Apr 20, 2021 10:41 pm

A few months ago I remember seeing a video of OK's IL-62 on a flight to YMX via YQX. I thought it was so cool to get a little glimpse of that era!

I always wondered with these flights using YQX as a fuel stop on the way to North America, would these flights make any fuel or the same stop going back to EU?
 
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SR380
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Re: Interflug / old Aeroflot crew rosters

Wed Apr 21, 2021 5:53 am

usdcaguy wrote:
Definitely an interesting time in history. The unpleasant nature of living in the DDR must have been hard on East Germans, who likely wanted to travel and see the world, but then how many of them could acquire exit visas, and of those, how many were there? I imagine that Interflug would have been used primarily by trustworthy party members and foreigners who could pay for their tickets in hard currency. Profitability at the carrier likely took a back seat to utility as part of the socialist economic model. It would have been interesting to see how flight planning took place under the guise of utility and exactly how much the East German government had to support the carrier monetarily.


My stepmother, whom was born and raised in the DDR, told me that Interflug offered cheap flight from a westerner point of view. Therefore, people from West Germany grossed the borders to fly from SXF to mediterran destinations.
 
Noshow
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Re: Interflug / old Aeroflot crew rosters

Wed Apr 21, 2021 6:08 am

True they tried to generate hard currency income with cheap flights and even provided shuttle buses from west Berlin. Typical destinations would be Rome and Athens and some in Turkey I seem to remember, But on the other hand west Berliners didn't want to support the eastern government by doing so. I grew up in west Berlin and I don't know anybody ho flew with Interflug to holiday vacations for this reason. I still went spotting to Schönefeld airport. My dad in fact still used them for some business travel to eastern destinations.
You could fly cheap from Tegel back then using so called "camping flights" where you pretended your trip to be some flight+hotel package but you only used the flight at reduced pricing.

Here is some interesting Interflug website:
http://www.interflug.biz
 
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eta unknown
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Re: Interflug / old Aeroflot crew rosters

Wed Apr 21, 2021 9:20 am

usdcaguy wrote:
Definitely an interesting time in history. The unpleasant nature of living in the DDR must have been hard on East Germans, who likely wanted to travel and see the world, but then how many of them could acquire exit visas, and of those, how many were there? I imagine that Interflug would have been used primarily by trustworthy party members and foreigners who could pay for their tickets in hard currency. Profitability at the carrier likely took a back seat to utility as part of the socialist economic model. It would have been interesting to see how flight planning took place under the guise of utility and exactly how much the East German government had to support the carrier monetarily.

None of these carriers were profitable and they weren't designed to be- instead they fulfilled govt. political objectives- I doubt the notion of profitability ever entered the equation as the route maps clearly illustrate. You can draw some parallels with BI, GA, MH- govt. owned carriers that operate either to minimise the loss or transport tourists for the benefit of the economy.
 
Noshow
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Re: Interflug / old Aeroflot crew rosters

Wed Apr 21, 2021 9:46 am

You can picture them as military transport squadron for passenger flights. The route network was politically minded. Serving destinations the government (communist party) wanted. The Interflug boss was some air force general. All pilots were reserve officers and party members.
I know somebody who evaluated Interflug after the german unification for restructuring as a "normal" airline with a lot of goodwill. He gave up because there was no way to get it profitable. They had lost their market, their protected environment and their soft currency cost advantage. At the same time the fleet was totally outdated and needed serious investment. However a lot of their staff stayed in aviation and went to other airlines and airports.
Some were really top notch. Just look at "Berline", the former Interflug Il-18 squadron, that manged to develop, convert and certify the first ever Il-18 special freighter in house!
 
planenutz
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Re: Interflug / old Aeroflot crew rosters

Fri Apr 23, 2021 4:55 am

I’ve always found Interflug’s operation quite interesting. I would have loved to have been able to fly flight IF910. This flight began in the 70s when the DDR and Vietnam began close trade ties. In 1976, IF910 departed Berlin every Monday at 0855 with stops at Moscow-Tashkent-Karachi-Dacca, arriving at Hanoi at 1500 on Tuesday. Return flight IF911 would depart Hanoi at 0800 on Weds with a reverse routing that skipped Karachi, arriving in Berlin at 0045 Thursday morning. The entire flight was on a IL-18 in an all economy 100 seat configuration. Tickets could only be sold between the following city pairs: Berlin-Moscow-Berlin, Berlin-Hanoi-Berlin, Dacca-Hanoi-Dacca, and Berlin-Dacca-Berlin. Tashkent and Karachi must have only been technical stops. I think it would have been an amazing adventure!
Not all who wander are lost....
 
Toinou
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Re: Interflug / old Aeroflot crew rosters

Fri Apr 23, 2021 5:47 am

ScottB wrote:
sanssouci wrote:
But very little is known about the operational side of old Aeroflot, especially on their domestic side of things. I wonder how, in a pre-computer age, they planned and managed a schedule that spanned 11 time zones, both in terms of aircraft rotations and crew rostering.


It sounds complicated, but really isn't. You have to keep in mind that SU was basically a government agency, not a for-profit company, and thus the choices of routes and schedules were made on the direction of bureaucrats. The schedules didn't need to change frequently, if at all, and it's not as if the customers or crew could complain if they were arriving or departing at 3 AM. So you just figure everything out based on Moscow time and if that means you depart VVO at 3 AM then so be it. Much of the knowledge we have today about human factors regarding rest and time zone changes didn't exist then -- so if the pilots needed more coffee, they got more coffee.

IIRC SVO was pretty much only for international flights, with VKO and DME handling domestic.


This system was also somewhat used for rail transport. Until July 2018 (!), Russian trains ran on Moscow time in the whole country. (I even heard that in some cases the restaurant car may have used Moscow time to schedule the day's meals...)
 
sanssouci
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Re: Interflug / old Aeroflot crew rosters

Sun Apr 25, 2021 5:31 am

Just came across an interesting interview with a former IF pilot. Its in German but the built-in browser translator did an ok job ;-)

https://www.austrianwings.info/2018/04/ ... n-moechte/
 
Noshow
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Re: Interflug / old Aeroflot crew rosters

Sun Apr 25, 2021 6:24 am

Here is a video about their crews in german language.
https://youtu.be/ERWzS7pWHlU

And this is about the separate VVIP squadron that was painted in Interflug colors but belonged to the Air Force and secret police.
https://youtu.be/J7oFSMETa6A
 
Galwayman
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Re: Interflug / old Aeroflot crew rosters

Sun Apr 25, 2021 12:17 pm

eta unknown wrote:
usdcaguy wrote:
Definitely an interesting time in history. The unpleasant nature of living in the DDR must have been hard on East Germans, who likely wanted to travel and see the world, but then how many of them could acquire exit visas, and of those, how many were there? I imagine that Interflug would have been used primarily by trustworthy party members and foreigners who could pay for their tickets in hard currency. Profitability at the carrier likely took a back seat to utility as part of the socialist economic model. It would have been interesting to see how flight planning took place under the guise of utility and exactly how much the East German government had to support the carrier monetarily.

None of these carriers were profitable and they weren't designed to be- instead they fulfilled govt. political objectives- I doubt the notion of profitability ever entered the equation as the route maps clearly illustrate. You can draw some parallels with BI, GA, MH- govt. owned carriers that operate either to minimise the loss or transport tourists for the benefit of the economy.


Just like Pan Am essentially -making massives losses ,flying to destinations primarily for geopolitical reasons on behalf on the US government.
 
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eta unknown
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Re: Interflug / old Aeroflot crew rosters

Sun Apr 25, 2021 12:44 pm

I don't think you can put PA in the same category as BI, GA, MH. PA existed to make money and occasionally they had to do things they didn't want to in order to be on the good side of the govt... the Air Zaire 747 lease being one example.
Remember back then airfares will usually only full fare first or economy with fares based on distance. You didn't need to maintain a daily service so it was possible to have break even flights with peculiar intermediate stops with low load factors- you could have 10 carriers on one ticket (till possible today) and each carrier got their part of the fare. However, given the Eastern European networks I doubt they carried many western pax although SU & OK did alright with India-SIN sectors.
 
Interflug74
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Re: Interflug / old Aeroflot crew rosters

Sun Apr 25, 2021 12:58 pm

Growing up in middle germany (some call it east-germany) our class saved money since the 6th grade to do an trip to the USSR when scool is finished, to meet the big brother, and see other people suffering under communist domination. So finally we took of to Leningrad in an IL-62 in late October 1989. We where all aware, that we only do 1 or 2 flights in our life, so it was a big adventure to us.
No one told us about the Aeroflot accident in 1986, where a scool class, just like us, do the same wave good bye trip like we do.. and most of them did not return. While in Leningrad, the wall came down, and we returned into an soon to be united germany.
 
kaitak
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Re: Interflug / old Aeroflot crew rosters

Sun Apr 25, 2021 5:12 pm

sanssouci wrote:
Just came across an interesting interview with a former IF pilot. Its in German but the built-in browser translator did an ok job ;-)

https://www.austrianwings.info/2018/04/ ... n-moechte/


Fascinating article. He is quite bitter about LH. Still, a great advantage to his future employability to have finished as an A310 FO.

(I don't speak German, but if you copy/paste each Q/A into Google Translate, it works well.)
 
Noshow
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Re: Interflug / old Aeroflot crew rosters

Sun Apr 25, 2021 5:20 pm

Imagine they would exist today and serve their old routes with their old soviet metal selling the emergency instructions, eastern approach plates and pilot wings for hard currency. They would be the world's enthusiast airline. Sort of Rada with seats.
 
sanssouci
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Re: Interflug / old Aeroflot crew rosters

Sun Apr 25, 2021 8:01 pm

kaitak wrote:
Fascinating article. He is quite bitter about LH.


I was surprised to read that because I know LH took in a lot of Interflug FA's and, from what I understand, they were employed for many years (and maybe still are). I haven't heard anything about any other employee groups. Would be fascinating to hear from former IF employees if any of them are on the forum.

I would assume IF was probably one of the most well run Eastern Block airlines, given that DDR was also the most advanced country behind the iron curtain. Maybe it had something to do with German efficiency and their work ethics?!
 
luckyone
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Re: Interflug / old Aeroflot crew rosters

Sun Apr 25, 2021 11:34 pm

sanssouci wrote:
I would assume IF was probably one of the most well run Eastern Block airlines, given that DDR was also the most advanced country behind the iron curtain. Maybe it had something to do with German efficiency and their work ethics?!

Or the fact that it was the most visible, and therefore outward appearances mattered most to the DDR and USSR.
 
smi0006
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Re: Interflug / old Aeroflot crew rosters

Mon Apr 26, 2021 1:08 am

Flyingsottsman wrote:
I am so interested in the eastern Block carriers in th4e old Soviet times, I wonder if those airlines lost crews who escaped to the West when they flew into a Western European Country, and I wonder if they had members of the Government or secret police traveling with them to stop them from trying to escape say when they flew to a city like London?


Not strictly related to the thread - but many Chinese carriers have this in place currently. A security guard travels on international flights (at least to Australia) they carry all crew passports, they are handed over at landing to crew; then collected back again after immigration formalities, and repeated for departure.

Wouldn’t stop them from claiming asylum- but certainly shows who’s in control and stops anyone from disappearing- can’t ever imagine that happening on a western carrier!
 
sanssouci
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Re: Interflug / old Aeroflot crew rosters

Sat May 01, 2021 11:01 pm

luckyone wrote:
Or the fact that it was the most visible, and therefore outward appearances mattered most to the DDR and USSR.


Was IF more visible than SU? I have no idea how it all played out, but given its sheer size, I think on the global stage SU was a lot more "present" than IF. I think at some point they flew to around 102 destinations, most of which were, of course, was once-a-week type of frequencies. Very politically driven with a little commercial sense.
 
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TWA772LR
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Re: Interflug / old Aeroflot crew rosters

Sun May 02, 2021 4:52 am

sanssouci wrote:
luckyone wrote:
Or the fact that it was the most visible, and therefore outward appearances mattered most to the DDR and USSR.


Was IF more visible than SU? I have no idea how it all played out, but given its sheer size, I think on the global stage SU was a lot more "present" than IF. I think at some point they flew to around 102 destinations, most of which were, of course, was once-a-week type of frequencies. Very politically driven with a little commercial sense.

A lot of communist bloc airlines had routes that made little sense. It was all about solidarity. I mean, IF flew SXF-Bamako and Dakha (via Moscow). We still see it today with Air Koryo flying FNJ-PEK and even Air China and TK with PEK-YUL-HAV and IST-HAV-CCS respectively.

Found from this IF route map on departed flights, which seems appropriate thread :)
http://www.departedflights.com/IF040174.html
When wasn't America great?


The thoughts and opinions shared under this username are mine and are not influenced by my employer.
 
Noshow
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Re: Interflug / old Aeroflot crew rosters

Sun May 02, 2021 6:03 am

They had some impressive network by length, especially given the limited range and capabilities of their fleet, but many routes were served on a very thin schedule or only if needed. East and West Germany competed for global reputation coming from the nazi past. Both trying to establish as many contacts to other countries before the other guy. This is one of the reasons that bloated the Interflug network so much. Another one: IF was used for a lot of "black" government transport jobs be it quiet staff travel of military and secret police instructors to african or asian countries or even weapons transports under the label of "Solidaritätsflüge". They even had a Il-18 crash doing this 1979 in Luanda.
 
Interflug74
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Re: Interflug / old Aeroflot crew rosters

Sun May 02, 2021 7:43 am

https://www.n-tv.de/wirtschaft/Interflu ... 08858.html

in german

some really nice pictures, when you click the last foto, there is more!
 
ZKCIF
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Re: Interflug / old Aeroflot crew rosters

Sun May 02, 2021 9:07 am

What really surprised me was that when I saw the monument to the ill-fated flight of August 1972 from Berlin to Burgas (a Black Sea destination in Bulgaria, with the aircraft being ironically registered DM-SEA) that there was not a single child on the flight. Of more than 150 passengers, the four youngest ages were 22, 22, 28, 28, and everything further was over 30. Really, it puts into perspective the context of Interflug operations. They did not need to carry around those pesky pencils and coloring books for their youngest passengers...

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