Formed from the Domodedovo 206th, 211th, 212th and 247th flights of Aeroflot which had been operating since 1960, Domodedovo Civil Aviation Production Association (CAPA) was an important airline serving the Far-Eastern cross-country routes. Domodedovo CAPA was officially separated from Aeroflot on 20 January 1993, when it was awarded with operator licence №4 by the State Civil Aviation Service.
Until 2002 (when some Yak-42s arrived) the airline's entire fleet was based around Ilyushin products. The original mix was primarily IL-62s (41 in fact!), IL-76s and some elderly IL-18s. In fact Domodedovo was one of the last passenger operators of the IL-18 with the last two aircraft, RA-74267 and RA-74268, not sold until 1999.
A year earlier the Domodedovo CAPA was reorganised as Domodedovo Airlines Ltd becoming independent of the airport which it called its homebase, though it wasn't until April 1999 that aircraft began to wear the new titles. As late as 2003 the fleet still consisted primarily of IL-62Ms with 16 on strength though many were high time aircraft close to retirement age. CCCP-86519 for example was manufactured in 1981 and delivered on December 11, 1982. By 2003 the fleet also consisted of four IL-76s though they were regularly leased out to other operators.
New equipment for Domodedovo did not come from the West but instead from Russian stocks. The IL-96, a shortened long range modern variant of the IL-86 seating 262 passengers, suffered from the breakup of the Soviet Union as well as unfavourable economics compared to Western types. It first flew in 1988 and entered service in 1993, but only 26 aircraft have been completed in the 24 years of production! Domodedovo operated three aircraft from the late 1990s taking at least one over from Aeroflot.
The development of the AiRUnion partnership saw all the airlines merged into a single holding company in 2007, however before many aircraft could be painted in the bright, if bland, colours of the new carrier the entire alliance collapsed. AiRUnion had been fighting against Sibair to be the no 2 airline grouping in Russia but the Russian economic crisis of 2008 ended the carrier's hopes. In 2006 the group had carried 4.9 million passengers compared to Aeroflot's 8.75 million so the loss of capacity in Russia was quite drastic.
The Russian government still owned 45% of the AiRUnion group and initially planned to restart operations, merging the remnants with Atlant-Soyuz to form a carrier named Rosavia, however the drastic decline in passenger numbers caused by the economic crisis effectively ended any hopes of restarting operations and instead Domodedovo Airlines and AiRUnion faded into history. Following the airline's collapse most of its aircraft including the IL-96 RA-96013 were effectively abandoned.
I'm Richard Stretton: a fan of classic airliners and airlines who enjoys exploring their history through my collection of die-cast airliners. If you enjoy the site please donate whatever you can to help keep it running: