Linking Europe and Asia is a strategic focus in which Aeroflot has long specialized. Knowledgeable travellers have known for years about the Great Circle route from Europe to Asia and back, and Moscow’s position on that route means transferring through the airline’s network hub at Sheremetyevo cuts down unnecessary flying in Asia. This is good for flight times and convenience, and also good for the environment. (Incidentally, Aeroflot has one of the youngest fleets globally (average age 4.1 yrs) of fuel efficient aircraft, adding to these environmental credentials).
The transfer also has to be efficient, which Aeroflot works to achieve through a strategy of focusing and responding pro-actively to customer feedback. This year steps taken at Sheremetyevo include improving the quality of service for passengers with short transfer times, as well as speeding up pre-flight procedures (queue management). In particular an interactive map of the airport is planned for 2018. Measures have been taken to streamline rules for hand baggage and hold luggage, with the aim of boosting service quality and passenger loyalty.
Keeping with the growth of the airline, the airport is also investing. Sheremetyevo is today Russia’s largest and most modern airport, with international standard services and amenities for all categories of passengers. The Sheremetyevo expansion project will increase terminal capacity to better accommodate the growing number of passengers. Meanwhile Aeroflot is in the process of moving domestic flights to the new Terminal B with transfer passengers using an underground inter-terminal passage and automated trains running every four minutes between the north (terminal B) and south (terminals D, E, F) terminal complexes.
When choosing an airline and hub airport, travellers need a wide range of destinations and frequent departures on those routes, and the new summer timetable from Aeroflot certainly offers this. This summer, it will fly to 146 destinations in 52 countries with six new routes to Cairo, Burgas, Naples, Verona, Kyzylorda, Saransk. Aeroflot’s network covers 52 routes within Russia, 16 points in seven other CIS countries and 78 other international destinations (55 to Europe, 13 to Asia, five to America, four to the Middle East and one to Africa).
Already strong on reaching lesser-served destinations, Aeroflot is expanding its presence in Kazakhstan with a new four-times weekly flight between Moscow and Kyzylorda, a major centre of oil and gas production (from July 15, 2018). With the opening of this new route, the Aeroflot network will cover nine destinations across Kazakhstan. The frequency of flights to current destinations will also increase: from Moscow to Astana (from nine to 12 flights per week) and Aktobe (from four to seven flights per week). As you would expect, there are extra international routes for the World Cup, such as from Argentina and to and from the US, which is the single biggest ticket-buying nation. And of course there are many domestic connections and routes between the World Cup host cities, routes which will be equipped with higher-capacity planes during the tournament.
Finally, the quality of Aeroflot is being recognised with recent awards including TripAdvisor’s Traveller’s Choice for Best Europe Business Airline Flyer and China’s Favourite International Airline. This second award is particularly special because it is based on both jury decision and votes from frequent flyers and travellers, and this is the second consecutive year Aeroflot has won. The airline retained the title due to its service quality, affordable ticket prices and convenient connecting flights from Sheremetyevo, which is involved in the China Friendly initiative.
“We are happy that Chinese passengers value the high quality of our product and choose us for their travels to Russia and all over the world,” Aeroflot CEO Vitaly Saveliev said. “Aeroflot will further strengthen its position in China, both by attracting tourist flows and by expanding our transit offerings between Europe and Asia via Moscow. Aeroflot is proud to make a significant contribution to the development of economic relations between Russia and China within the framework of the strategic cooperation between two great countries.”
Aeroflot flies to Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Guangzhou, and last year signed a partnership agreement with Alipay, China’s most popular payment system. Aeroflot’s official website has a Chinese-language version. Passengers receive menus in Chinese, and the in-flight entertainment system is available in Chinese. Onboard announcements are made in Chinese and the menu offers a special Asian set. This year is likely to be a further milestone in the success of Aeroflot, with more passengers experiencing the new aircraft, service, food and ease of transfer through Moscow.