8/04/2014: Low-Cost Airline Dobrolet Ceases Operations

Aeroflot's (SU) Sheremetyevo International Airport (SVO)-based low-cost subsidiary Dobrolet (QD) ceased operations in 2014.



August 4, 2023

DALLAS - Today in Aviation, Aeroflot's (SU) 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 aviation rules around 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.

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Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev inspected the Boeing 737-800 on June 10, 2014 at Sheremetyevo International Airport, prior to the inaugural flight to Simferopol. Photo: By Government.ru, CC BY 4.0

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: De Anna Zvereva from Tallinn, Estonia - Pobeda, VQ-BTH, Boeing 737-8LJ, CC BY-SA 2.0

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 before the Russian invasion of Ukraine.


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