Aeroflot will withdraw its ageing Ilyushin Il-86s and Tupolev Tu-134s from mainline service next year after an audit by its alliance partner SkyTeam deemed the airliners unsuitable.

Aeroflot became a full SkyTeam member earlier this year and pledged that it would comply fully with the alliance’s requirements. The carrier’s deputy general director for strategic and corporate development Kirill Budaev told Flight International that Aeroflot will withdraw eight Il-86s and 14 Tu-134s by the end of the next year. Some will be sold and the remainder transferred to Aeroflot’s regional arms Aeroflot-Nord, Aeroflot-Don and the Far East division that is now being formed.

The 300- to 350-seat Il-86 is Aeroflot’s largest airliner and is employed on charter services to Egypt and southern Europe. The widebody also operates scheduled services during the summer season to Black Sea resorts.

“We are increasing our Airbus A320 fleet from 20 to 35 aircraft over the next two years, which will be sufficient to replace both Il-86s and Tu-134s,” says Budaev.
However, withdrawal of the 68-seat Tu-134s – the only regional type in Aeroflot’s inventory – may lead to closure of some thin services. Before the SkyTeam audit, Aeroflot planned to gradually replace this type with the Sukhoi Superjet 100 from late 2008.

Meanwhile, Aeroflot’s shareholder National Reserve Bank (NRB) Group says it has placed deposits for Boeing 787 production slots in anticipation of Aeroflot selecting the type.

Aeroflot general director Valery Okulov has indicated that the airline will divide its requirement for a new long-haul aircraft to replace its 767 fleet between Airbus and Boeing, with an order for 22 787s likely to be followed by a deal for a similar number of A350 XWBs. A decision is expected by year-end.

Source: Flight International