Soviet Union Table of Contents
The civilian Air Fleet (Aero flot--Aeroflot) played a major role in transporting passengers but a minor role in transporting cargo. Civil aviation was the third most important transporter of passengers after the highway and railroad systems in terms of passenger-kilometers. Although it transported only a small fraction of the cargo shipped on the other modes of transportation, Aeroflot was the preferred carrier where speed was essential. Aeroflot provided many services not performed by Western airlines, such as the spraying of fertilizers and pesticides over fields and forests, forest fire detection and control, pipeline inspection, medical evacuation, logistical support for oil and other exploration and extraction ventures, construction projects, and scientific expeditions to polar regions. Frequently, Aeroflot airplanes or helicopters were the sole means of reaching remote Siberian or northern settlements. Lastly, Aeroflot's crews and aircraft constituted the strategic airtransport reserve of the Soviet armed forces.
Data as of May 1989