On my recent trip to Singapore, my outbound flight was on Singapore Airlines Flight 61 that flies from Houston To Singapore via Moscow (Domodedovo). The 2 hour stopover in Moscow gave me the opportunity to come across some interesting airlines.
Unfortunately plane spotting from within the terminal was nearly impossible, but I did manage to capture a few pictures of some seldom seem Airliners while we taxied to and from our gate.
Since I was taking these pictures from my seat aboard the Singapore 777, some of the images are not as crisp as I would like to them to be, but when you are taxiing in an aircraft on bumpy tarmac, sometimes you have to take what you can get.
Some of the airlines pictured below, I was seeing for the first time in person (like Kyrgystan and Tatarstan) which really made the stopover a productive one for this planespotting “wannabe”. I’ve provided links to the websites of some of the more obscure airlines that you’ll see below.
AIRONIX: Since 2007, the Ukrainian carrier has been operating flights to several destinations within the Ukraine and Russia. It’s fleet is comprised of 2 Boeing 737 aircraft (a 300 and 500 series). I would consider seeing one of these a rare “find”:
ATRAN: Originally established in 1942 as “Moscow Aviation Enterprise”, the cargo airline was primarily responsible for transporting aircraft parts. After the cold war, ATRAN was the first independent airline to operate in the former Soviet Union. It’s gone through a few name changes over the years, and has been ATRAN since 1997. They currently operate 17 aircraft. The plane pictured below is one of their 7 Antonov AN12’s:
KOLAVIA (no website available): Known also as JSC Kogalymavia, Kolavia is a Russian based airline operating flights to the Ukraine, Azerbaijan and within Russia. It’s current fleet is comprised of 2 Airbus A320 (operated by OnurAir) and 2 Bombardier Challenger 850 aircraft. The A320 is pictured below:
KYRGYZSTAN: Originally established in 1992 as Aeroflot Kyrgyzstan Directorate, the airline was based in Bishkek, Kyrgystan. After a bankruptcy in 2005, the airline emerged to become Kyrgyzstan in 2005. It’s current fleet is comprised of 3 Antonov AN-24, 1 Boeing 737-500, 2 Boeing 737-400, 2 Yakovlev YAK-40 and 1 Tupolev TU-154M aircraft. One of their 737-400’s is pictured here:
NOUVELAIR: A Tunisian carrier that serves over 130 airports throughout Europe. Their fleet consists of 12 Airbus A320 and 2 Airbus A321 Aircraft. One of their A320’s is pictured here:
RUSLINE: Rusline is a Russian airline based in Moscow. In 2010 it took over the aircraft and route of Bankrupted Air Volga. Its timetable includes flights to Asia, Russia and a few European destinations. Their fleet is made up of 2 Airbus A319, 6 Bombardier CRJ100 and 8 Bombardier CRJ200 aircraft. I saw one of their CRJ100’s:
TARTARSTAN: The airline started service in 1999 and serves destinations throughout Russian and a few destinations within eastern Europe and the Middle East. Including charter services, it serves 40 destinations. The fleet includes 2 Airbus A319, 4 Boeing 737 (various models), 2 Tupolev TU-154M and 2 Yakovlev YAK42 aircraft. The one I saw was the YAK-42:
TRANSAERO: Based in Domodedovo, Transaero is a success story for the Russian Airline industry. It started as a charter operator in 1990 but has grown to now serve over 100 destinations within Russia and abroad. It was the first Russian airline other than Aeroflot to receive certification to carry passengers. It currently uses a Boeing only fleet comprised of various 737, 767 and 747 aircraft. On order are 4 Airbus A380’s that are due in 2015. I was able to “spot” a Boeing 777 and 2 747’s, one with the cyrillic “TRANSAERO”:
UZBEKISTAN AIRWAYS: Created in 1992, it is the national carrier of Uzbekistan and is based in Tashkent. The airline serve destinations throughout Asia, Europe and North America. Its fleet is primarily made up of Airbus A320, A310 and Boeing 757 and 767 aircraft. It does have 2 Boeing 787s on order. Pictured below are an Airbus A310 and a Boeing 767-300:
VIM AIRLINES: VIM started operations in 2000 and serves destinations throughout Europe and Asia. Their fleet is made up of 11 Boeing 757 aircraft. One of the 757’s is preparing to takeoff:
MINISTRY OF EMERGENCY SITUATIONS (EMERCOM): This Russian agency is charged with disaster and emergency relief for events occuring within Russia. They operate a host of rescue aircraft including helicopters, tanker aircraft and cargo aircraft. I suspect the Yakovlev YAK-42 that I saw is probably an administrative aircraft:
And finally, there is the Iluyshin 62 graveyard just behind the tarmac at Domodedovo. Like most Russian airports, its not uncommon to see antiquated aircraft parked permanently on grass fields surrounding the airport. This unique “strategy” gives visitors a chance to glimpse back into Russian aviation history and see old Tupolev, Yakovlev and Ilyushin aircraft.
In what I could see as we taxied by was a collection of various Iluyshin 62 and 62M aircraft that have been retired to this unique resting place. I would suspect the aircraft are worth more as scrap than as landscaping but thats not my decision to make (unless the IL62 comes back into fashion?). It however did bring back memories from my childhood when we would occasionally fly in a CSA (Czech Airlines) IL-62M from JFK to Prague as part of our itinerary that took us to Slovakia. I always wondered why we would fly an airplane that required a “training wheel” to drop from the tail to prevent the aircraft from falling backwards due to its 4 large engines attached at the rear. Fortunately, my parents ultimately discovered Lufthansa which in hindsight provided a major upgrade in equipment and safety. Anyhow, here is the view that I had while we taxied by the IL-62M pasture:
So there you have it, a brief look into some airlines you may never have heard of, let alone ever see land at your local airport. I would love to hear about some of your more unique aircraft sightings while traveling. Feel free to email (email@example.com) me a photo and if enough of you reply, I’ll put the photos together into a future post.
If you would like to see my other posts involving plane spotting please visit: