If you are about to fly with Aeroflot, your ‘friends’ will jokingly tell you two things. Firstly, that flying with Aeroflot is not safe, and that you’ll be lucky to arrive at your destination in one piece. Second, that the customer services is terrible, and that none of the cabin crew will ever smile at you.
This article deals with the first myth – is flying with Aeroflot safe?
Actually, yes, it is safe to fly with Aeroflot today – or, to put it another way, you are as safe flying with Aeroflot today as with any other major international airline.
Statistics on air safety records that allow you to compare airlines are difficult to find. But, for illustrative purposes, you could look at the Aviation Safety Network’s database, and compare Aeroflot with American Airlines, the major US carrier. Since 1992, there have been eight recorded crashes involving Aeroflot Russian International Airlines planes, compared with seventeen crashes involving American Airlines.
There were considerably more Aeroflot crashes in the Soviet era – Aviation Safety Network records 131 crashes involving Aeroflot planes between 1946 and 1996, which is probably where the stories about Aeroflot’s safety record came from. But, even then, data like this should be considered in context – Aeroflot flew more miles than any other Airline in the world during that era, and in much more dangerous conditions than most other airlines.
Since the end of the Soviet Union, Aeroflot Russian airlines have made great strides in improving safety. Out has gone the old fleet of Soviet Tupolev planes – today, almost all of the planes in the Aeroflot fleet are Airbus or Boeing planes – only a couple of Ilyushins remain, mostly servicing flights to former Soviet states, rather than flights to and from Europe or North America.
Ultimately, though, the intent of this article is not to worry you. Flying by plane is comparatively a pretty safe way to travel. Per journey, flying by plane is ten times safer than travelling by motorcycle, albiet less safe than travelling by car. Per mile, or per kilometer, air ravel is much, much safer than any alternative – as is evidenced in this series of tables comparing safety of different kinds of travel.