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Gala evening marking the 100th anniversary of Russian civil aviation

February 9, 2023, The Kremlin, Moscow

A gala evening was hosted in the State Kremlin Palace to mark the 100th anniversary of Russian civil aviation, during which Vladimir Putin presented Russian Federation state decorations to industry representatives.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Friends, veterans,

Today we are marking an important milestone: the 100th anniversary of Russian civil aviation.

I congratulate you, everyone present in this hall and your colleagues, everyone for whom working in this strategic industry has become not just a job, but a vocation and destiny.

Russian civil aviation has always been a symbol of technological progress. Its creation and rapid development served as a powerful boost for science and technology, industrial production and the education system.

We can be justly proud of the glorious history of civil aviation and the civil air fleet. Thanks to the work and talent of outstanding designers such as Antonov, Tupolev, Ilyushin, Yakovlev and many others, a wide range of domestic aviation equipment was created and used to set many world records for speed, range, and duration of flights.

The courage of the civil aviation pilots who rescued a polar expedition aboard the Chelyuskin steamer from ice captivity in 1934 and were the first to be awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union will forever be remembered by Russians. And three years later, the first non-stop flight to the United States via the North Pole of the crew under the command of Valery Chkalov became a real feat.

It is difficult to overestimate the contribution of the civil air fleet to the development of our country. Without it, it is impossible to imagine the achievements of industrialisation, the development of Siberia, the Far East, the Arctic and the Great Victory in 1945.

We will not forget the heroism of the People’s Defence Commissariat aviation groups, which were made up of civil aviation pilots. In the most difficult conditions, they supplied the front and partisan squads, besieged Leningrad, and the defenders of Sevastopol and Stalingrad with ammunition, medicine, and food, as well as evacuated the wounded under fire. And in the victorious May of 1945, the pilots of the 10th Guards Air Transport Division delivered the Act of Nazi Germany’s unconditional surrender to Vnukovo.

In the post-war decades, Aeroflot connected almost all major Soviet cities with foreign capitals. It began carrying millions of passengers, thereby enhancing the status of our country as one of the world’s leading aviation powers.

During the hard times of 1990s, civil aviation managed to overcome the difficulties and take its place in the new market economy. Step by step, it confidently propelled itself to a growth trajectory.


Today, civil aviation retains its special, strategic importance. It plays a key role in the steady development of our enormous country and in ensuring connectivity between our regions. It facilitates the dynamic growth of many high-tech industries.

Today, civil aviation is 225 airports, including 80 international airports, more than a hundred airlines, and 18 institutions of higher and secondary vocational education, as well as other organisations. A total of almost 200,000 specialists work in these structures – in your structures – who professionally resolve the most complex and responsible tasks.

As for civil aviation’s achievements in the past decade, I would like to note the quality service during the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the World Cup and other landmark, global events. The Unified Air Traffic Management System has been upgraded and the regional centres streamlined – we talked about this earlier.

Even during the practically total suspension of international flights due to the coronavirus pandemic, domestic civil aviation maintained its position and ensured the continuity of its development. Thus, even in a difficult, uneasy 2022, Russian companies carried over 95 million passengers overall.

In conditions of unprecedented sanctions against our country, civil aviation was one of the first to be hit. However, it efficiently took on this challenge and has resolved the arising problems in a system-wide and consistent manner.

We just met with your colleagues today – the workers and veterans of civil aviation. We discussed with them, in part, measures of state support for the industry. In the past year alone, the federal budget allocated over 174 billion rubles for this purpose. This made it possible for companies to retain their employees, preserve their unique experience and competences, and focus on the development agenda.

Notably, 84 airfields have been upgraded and eight new regional and hub airports have been built over the past 20 years. New Russian aircraft are being designed and promising, logistically optimised routes are being developed.

This work will continue. Airports will be retrofitted. The number of direct flights and modern transport hubs will increase. Special attention will be paid to renewing the airline fleet.

As I noted earlier, we will address these challenges relying on domestic technology and the capacities of domestic manufacturers. We will create and develop a range of new and upgraded aircraft and localise production as much as possible.

In addition, to support airlines, a new mechanism for easy-term leasing of domestic aircraft is about to go live and will be funded from the National Welfare Fund. This will boost the efficiency of aircraft operation, which will ultimately improve availability of air transport.

We will continue to subsidise tickets for socially important destinations, as well as fares for pensioners, people with disabilities, students, and families with many children.

Also, budget funding to expand air ambulance service for residents of remote areas will more than double this year, which will raise the standard and availability of medical care.

To reiterate, our goal is to make the industry competitive, modern, and responsive to current demands and national development goals.

I am confident that the people working in the industry will make every effort to effectively address the challenges they are facing. We are well aware of the fact that steady operation of the industry relies primarily on honest work and coordinated efforts of pilots, engineers and air traffic controllers, as well as flight attendants and many other industry professionals.

I would like to thank everyone working in the field of civil aviation for their competence and reliability and for acting in an organised, efficient and professional manner in all, sometimes even emergency, situations.

Warm words of gratitude are reserved for veterans of the civil aviation industry, people who devoted their lives to their career of choice and worked honestly and responsibly for the good of the Motherland, and who honoured and built on the industry’s traditions.

Once again, happy anniversary and happy holiday.


Vladimir Putin: Friends,

Once again, congratulations to all of you.

You can see how many anniversaries there are: now we are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the industry as a whole, and then the 100th anniversary of Aeroflot. One of the award winners [Oleg Zaika – Senior Pilot Instructor, S7 Airlines] just said that soon he will mark 100 years of his family’s flight experience [of Zaika's aviation dynasty], which, of course, is also an outstanding achievement. I think that the industry should also celebrate such events, and this will certainly be done.

He also said that they would envy us. They already envy us, otherwise they would not bother us – that is the whole point. But let them practice, and we will only strengthen ourselves inside and out, also thanks to your work.

Thank you very much.

Congratulations on the 100th anniversary of civil aviation!

Good luck!

February 9, 2023, The Kremlin, Moscow