Pulkovo: Russia's No 3 Airline
Pulkovo Federal State Unified Aviation Service Company (“Пулково”) was formed from Aeroflot’s St Petersburg division in 1992 and was fully government owned. It operated St Petersburg's Pulkovo Airport as well as the airline which was the third largest in Russia by the late 1990s.
Initially operating in Aeroflot’s colours it began to rebrand in 1997 and became a fairly common sight at European airports.
The fleet consisted of over 30 TU-154s, alongside TU-134s and IL-86s. From 2005 the airline began to modernise its fleet with five ex-Aer Lingus 737-500s, however there time with Pulkovo was to be brief. Earlier in 2004 Vladimir Putin had signed a decree that ordered the merger of Pulkovo with the much smaller state transport company Rossiya. It took sometime to split Pulkovo - the airline, from Pulkovo - the airport and the merger didn't finally take place until October 2006 with the surviving airline called Rossiya.
CCCP-85530 was built in February 1982 and leased to Malev between June 1986 and December 1988 as HA-LCS. She took up Russia’s RA code in May 1993. The last photos of her I can find are in 2005 and it is unclear whether she joined the Rossiya fleet or not.
This model is one of the few Gemini Jets TU-154s using the Phoenix 1b Mould. As you can see from the photos above, which are in date order, depending on the light condition the blue colour seems to change quite a lot, or maybe the plane was repainted differently. I'm not sure, but obviously Gemini has gone with the lighter shade of blue which certainly wasn't the standard paint for most of their fleet.
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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: