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Aeroflot

AEROFLOT

Aeroflot, literally "air fleet," is the common name for the state airline of the Soviet Union. It was operated under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Civil Aviation. The airline was founded in 1928 as Dobroflot and was reorganized into Aeroflot in 1932. During Soviet times, Aeroflot was the world's largest airline, with about 15 percent of all civil air traffic. The first ever nonstop transpolar flight (from Moscow to the United States in 1933) on the ANT-25 aircraft operated by Valery Chkalov, Georgy Baidukov, and Alexander Belyakov was a landmark in the history of the aviation. Aeroflot introduced commercial jet plane service on September 15, 1956, on a flight from Moscow to Irkutsk. Aeroflot developed the world's first supersonic airliner, the TU-144. Its maiden flight took place on December 31, 1968, two months ahead of the Concorde. Regular supersonic cargo flights began in late 1975 and passenger flights in 1977. Supersonic service was suspended in 1978, after 102 flights.

After the breakup of the Soviet Union, Aeroflot was reorganized by the June 1992 resolution of the government of Russian Federation, becoming Aeroflot-Russian International Airlines. Another government resolution appointed Valery Okulov as its first general director in May 1997. Aeroflot-Russian International Airlines is a joint-stock company, with 51 percent of the stock owned by the government as of 2002 and the remaining 49 percent belonging to the employees. With over fourteen thousand employees, as of 2002 Aeroflot-Russian International Airlines was the world's fourth largest commercial airline; with flights to 140 destinations in 94 countries, it provided 70 percent of all the international air transport performed by Russian airlines, and had 151 representatives abroad, as well as branches in the Russian Federation in Novosibirsk, Khabarovsk, and St. Petersburg. The company's fleet consisted in 2002 of 111 airplanes, including two Boeing-767-300s, eight Airbuses A-310-300, six long-range Iluyshin-96-300s, eighteen Iluyshin-76TD cargo planes and one cargo DC-10/30F, and other jets, illustrating the diversification of aircraft in the post-Soviet period.

See also: aviation

bibliography

Aeroflot: Russian International Airlines. (2003). Available at <http://www.aeroflot.org>.

Paul R. Gregory

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