What will bring Russian airline brands out of their slumber? In conversation with industry expert Stuart Barwood

I recently read in the news that Aeroflot Russian Airlines had sent their flight attendants to Singapore, for training in grooming and customer service, by Singapore Airlines. This, after holding a competition among 40 design agencies to refurbish their image, including new uniforms. I’ve personally taken four (not-very-memorable) flights on Aeroflot, and trust me, this comes as a pleasant surprise.

In Russia, airlines are often ridiculed for rickety planes, atrocious service, inedible food and constant delays. Moreover, airlines often started on the whim of a billionaire. But this seems to be changing. First, it was Siberian, which hired Landor to re-invent itself at S7 and now there’s Aeroflot trying to pull up its socks. But are these just exceptions, or the coming of age of the Russian aviation industry? Why not have an expert share with us?

In conversation with Stuart Barwood – Russian aviation expert

We had the opportunity to catch up with Stuart Barwood, the Commercial Director for Brolin Consulting. Formerly with easyJet, Stuart is now a Russian aviation expert who probably spends more time in Moscow than his home in the UK.

Watch the interview with Stuart (17:12 mins) to hear him explain:

  • The massive untapped potential of the Russian market (1:30)
  • The need for non-Russian managers (2:04)
  • Why over-regulation is not always a good thing (3:55)
  • Why crashes are a thing of the past (3:03)
  • Why anything not “Made in Russia” has penalties (4.20)
  • Not all Russian aircraft are bad, they just don’t have the leasing agreements (5:19)
  • Which Russian airlines stand out (6:00)
  • Why foreign investment may not rush into the Russian market (8:25)
  • The biggest opportunity in the Russian market (9:40)
  • The need for change with airport infrastructure (10:53)
  • Why marketing is a “new science” in Russia and the dominance of charter carriers (12:12)
  • Aeroflot on Twitter? 3D tours of the aircraft? Why? Why not? (14:46)

So, what do you think? Are Russian airlines pulling up their socks? Or is it all doom and gloom?Let’s discuss in the comments or over on Twitter (@simpliflying)

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Shashank Nigam

Shashank Nigam

Shashank Nigam is the CEO of SimpliFlying and a globally sought-after consultant, speaker and thought-leader on airline branding and customer engagement strategy. He is also the youngest winner of the Global Brand Leadership Award and has addressed senior aviation executives globally, from Chile to Canada and from Sydney to San Francisco.Shashank's perspectives have found their way into major media outlets, including CNN Travel, CNBC, MSNBC, Bloomberg UTV, Mashable and in leading publications like Airline Business, ATW, Aviation Week, and others.Shashank studied Information Systems Management and Business Management at Singapore Management University and Carnegie Mellon University. Hailing from India, he splits his time between Singapore and Vancouver, among other cities.
Shashank Nigam
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Showing 10 comments
  • oussama
    Reply

    A very insightful look at the Russian mark and the problems and pitfalls facing the Russian aviation

  • ikonn
    Reply

    That is great! Aeroflot is taking the right steps to compete with the big boys and to be recognized as a global brand. I personally flew Aeroflot internationally and locally throughout Russia about two years ago and I loved the food and the service. I had a better experience then flying Air Canada or American.

    With their new initiative to improve customer service and their planes by upgrading their fleet, they are definitely on the right track.

    Great post!

    Alex “Flying” Ikonn

  • Milind
    Reply

    Very interesting view on the Russian Market, I have personally done work with S7 and Vladavia in the past, its good to see S7 transforming themselves and building up an internet booking presence, I wonder what the panel think of Vladavia Airline's prospects?

    • simpliflying
      Reply

      Milind, I'm personally unable to comment on Vladavia's prospects. Stuart,
      would you share your thoughts please?

  • Milind
    Reply

    Very interesting view on the Russian Market, I have personally done work with S7 and Vladavia in the past, its good to see S7 transforming themselves and building up an internet booking presence, I wonder what the panel think of Vladavia Airline's prospects?

  • simpliflying
    Reply

    Milind, I'm personally unable to comment on Vladavia's prospects. Stuart,
    would you share your thoughts please?

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