Il-86 Returns To Service with S7 Airlines

Russia’s S7 Airlines is planning to return five Ilyushin aircraft to service – two Il-96s and three Il-86s. According to reports, the five cargo aircraft will be converted for passenger operations. This will be the first time the Ilyushin Il-86 has flown commercially since 2011.

According to Interfax, during a Federation Council committee meeting on economic policy, Russian Transportation Minister Vitaly Savelyev is quoted as saying,

“S7 will take five aircraft, two Il-96 cargo planes and three Il-86 cargo planes. It will adapt them, and we will fly.”


The Ilyushin Il-86 – Russia’s first widebody

The Ilyushin Il-86 entered into commercial service in 1980, with 106 being built before production ended in 1991. The twin-aisle quadjet can seat up to 350 passengers in a 3-3-3 configuration.

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Aeroflot operated the type’s inaugural flight from Moscow to Tashkent. The airline went on to use its Ilyushin Il-86s on longer routes, including Moscow to Havana (via Shannon and Gander) and Moscow to Buenos Aires (via Sal, Cape Verde).


Aeroflot Ilyushin Il-86

The vast majority of those built remained in Russia. Outside of Russia, the Ilyushin Il-86 was operated only by a handful of carriers, including Uzbekistan Airways and Armenian Airlines.

S7 Airlines – a member of the oneworld Alliance

Siberia Airlines was formed in 1992 following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and went on to rebrand itself as S7 Airlines in 2005. Today it flies a fleet of 105 Airbus, Boeing and Embraer aircraft, with its main operating based located at Domodedovo Airport in Moscow and Tolmachevo Airport in Novosibirsk.

In 2010 S7 Airlines joined the Oneworld alliance, and prior to the pandemic, it operated a significant domestic network. Internationally, its routes stretched as far west as Iceland and as far east as Japan.


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S7 operates a fleet of over 100 Airbus, Boeing, and Embraer aircraft. Photo: Getty Images

As a result of the conflict in Ukraine, Russian airlines have been banned from flying EU airspace, and on March 4th S7 Airlines announced that it was ceasing international flying altogether. Aeroflot, Rossiya, and Azur Air have also stopped international flights.

Both Airbus and Boeing have halted their supply of aircraft parts and services to Russia, and it is becoming increasingly challenging for Russian airlines to source spare parts to maintain their Western-built jets.

With Russian airlines now banned from both US and EU airspace, the majority of international services have been suspended. This reduced flying program should ease the pressure in the short term. However airlines such as Aeroflot and S7 Airlines have extensive domestic networks to operate, so Russian carriers may soon need to start thinking outside the box in order to plug any gaps in their fleets.

Source: Interfax


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