MIAMI – Today in Aviation, Aeroflot’s Sheremetyevo International Airport (SVO)-based low-cost subsidiary Dobrolet (QD) ceased operations in 2014.

Russia had a chequered history with low-cost carriers (LCC). Sky Express and Avianova had both failed due to the strict rules around aviation in the country which limited the extent that an airline could be a true LCC.

But the LCC market was growing and Aeroflot (SU) was keen to get in on the action. So in October 2013 Dobrolet, named after a predecessor of the Russian flag carrier, was born.

The first flight took to the skies on June 10, 2014, between Moscow (SVO) and Simferopol (SIP). Additional domestic routes were set to launch in August.

Dobrolet operated a fleet of two Boeing 737-800s VQ-BTS pictured at SVO and VQ-BTG (Photo: Dmitry Petrov, CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Political Tensions


However, following the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 on July 17 over Ukraine, the European Union began to impose sanctions against Russia. This included Dobrolet because of its flights to the disputed Crimea region. Various companies began to cancel contracts with the airline including aircraft insurance agreements and leasing, repair, and maintenance agreements. 

Management was left with no choice but to suspend operations on August 4. Despite this, the airline announced on August 6 that it had ordered 16 brand new Boeing 737-800s for delivery between 2017-2018.

Podeba has become one of the fastest-growing airlines in Russia and today operates a fleet of 43 737-800s. Photo: Podeba.aero

Pobeda Rises From The Ashes


Out of Dobrolet’s ashes came Pobeda (DP), Aeroflot’s second attempt at an LCC. Operations were launched on December 1, 2014.

Today, the airline is the country’s third-largest with a fleet of 43 Boeing 737-800s flying to 67 domestic and international destinations.


Featured image: Dobrolet Boeing 737-800 pictured on approach to Moscow (SVO). Photo: Dmitry Petrov, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons