LONDON – Russian flag carrier Aeroflot (SU) this week announced its operating results for May 2020 and the first five months (5M20) of 2020.

The Aeroflot Group in the first five months of the year handled 11.7 million passengers, which is down 47.8% year-on-year.

The individual airline of Aeroflot handled 7.3 million passengers in that same period, which is a decrease of nearly half.

Lower load factors

Passenger load factors for 5M20 decreased by 9.4% to 68.8% for the Group and by 11.8% to 64.6% for SU.

May 2020 saw a decrease of 93.9% to just 305,600 passengers with the individual carrier carrying 206,300 passengers which is also a decrease of 93.1%.

Load factor for the month for the Group was 45.4%, a 31.6% decrease compared to the same time last year. For the airline it dropped by 30.1% to 44.1%.

Photo: Dmitry Zherdin

Statement from Aeroflot

The carrier assigned the reasoning for decline purely on the Coronavirus pandemic.

“In 5M and May 2020, operating results were affected by the dynamics of demand and significant flight restrictions imposed amid the spread of the novel coronavirus infection.

“In addition to the suspension of scheduled international flights, quarantine restrictions in Russia and passengers’ propensity to travel amid pandemic affected the decline in domestic traffic indicators.”

Aeroflot was keen to add that load factors have increased so far this month due to the gradual restoration of services from the partial lifting of restrictions in Russia and the rest of the world.

A350-900. Photo: Clément Alloing @CAlloing

Aircraft changes at Aeroflot

The Russian flag-carrier only had a net change of plus one aircraft which was attributed to its first Airbus A350-900 aircraft it received back in February this year.

That particular aircraft was scheduled to serve Beijing and Shanghai but plans are unclear due to such reopening of operations.

Aeroflot has also made some changes over that five month period such as the changing of flights from Tokyo Narita to Haneda instead back in March.

The airline also said that it would plan to use the A350 on the London Heathrow route from Moscow Sheremteyovo which would have replaced the Airbus A330 that already operates the flights.

Aeroflot’s 2020/21 schedule for the A350-900 shows the aircraft operating SU2578/2579 (Heathrow rotations) from October 25, 2020, which will be the launch date of its winter schedule.

Will summer load factors pick up?

Given the carrier’s recent announcement to use the A350-900 on the expansion of routes to Singapore, it is likely that the airplane will also be used in two different region plans over the winter and summer schedules.

Overall, it will be interesting to see how successful the load factors will be for SU as it continues its restart program over the course of this month.

Time will tell to see how quickly recovery in the industry will occur and whether this is indeed a good tester of that.