Soviet Union Table of Contents
During World War II, Soviet civil aviation was infused with new technology, consisting of transport airplanes, such as the American DC-3 and DC-4, supplied under the lend-lease agreement. As a result, Aeroflot experienced rapid growth in the postwar years. Between 1950 and 1955, a major route expansion occurred when the capitals of the constituent republics and major administrative centers were interconnected by air service. By 1955 the Soviet Union had established air links with neighboring communist countries in Europe and Asia.
Aeroflot entered the jet age in 1956, when it put into service the world's first jet airliner, the twin-engined Tu-104. It carried seventy passengers or twelve tons of cargo at a range of up to 4,000 kilometers. Other jet or turboprop aircraft were soon acquired by Aeroflot: the An-10, Il-18, and Tu-114 turboprops; the short-range Yak-40; the medium-range Tu-134A; the medium- to longrange Tu-154; and the long-range Il-62M jet liners.
Data as of May 1989