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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Aeroflot, Continental to Share Routes

Russia's flag carrier Aeroflot and the Houston-based Continental Airlines signed an accord Tuesday to jointly operate daily flights on the Moscow-New York route and coordinate their reservation systems, flight schedules and tariffs.


Officials for the two airlines said the five-year agreement would allow Russian passengers to make reservations through Continental for up to 157 cities in the United States not served by Aeroflot. Likewise, U.S. passengers will be able to fly to CIS and Baltic destinations via Aeroflot.


"This is the best ever agreement signed by Aeroflot," Nikolai Glushkov, Aeroflot's deputy director for finance, told a news conference. The deal finalizes a preliminary agreement reached last October. Full "code-sharing," as the scheme is called, will come into effect next fall.Glushkov said cargo transfers and marketing could also be future areas of cooperation with Continental, the fifth-largest U.S. airline. Aeroflot also plans to join Continental's frequent-flier program.


Under the terms of the agreement, Aeroflot and Continental will operate a DC-10-30 aircraft -- bearing the codes of both companies -- between Moscow and New York and on 16 mainland destinations in the U.S. Officials said Aeroflot's Il-96 planes, equipped with Pratt and Whitney engines, would also be used on the joint Moscow-New York flight in future. U.S. customers connecting to Moscow through New York would be told that the trans-Atlantic flight will be jointly operated with Aeroflot, officials said. Flight attendants, for example, would come from both companies.


David Grizzle, vice president of Continental, said the arrangement would allow the airlines to achieve greater frequency on the Moscow-New York route than their competitors and thereby corner a sizable chunk of the business market. He said the bulk of passenger traffic is expected to originate in the United States, and Aeroflot's progress in coming up to international standards made it a valued partner for any airline. He added in an interview that he was confident in Aeroflot's service and safety record.


Glushkov conceded that some problems remain. He said Aeroflot is working to resolve the question of airport transfers from Sheremetyevo II, in Moscow, to other airports, and to upgrade service on board flights.


Aeroflot will continue to operate its thrice weekly flight to New York's JFK airport after the joint route with Continental starts in the fall. The new daily flight will use the Newark airport near New York City as the hub for flights to other U.S. cities.ey had to have been the product, he said, of terrible, extreme circumstances. They had, in fact, to have come from the gulag.


Now this notion initially boggles the mind. Nice, young, middle-class British medical students poring over the skeletal remains of political prisoners done to death 1,000 miles, 2,000 miles, 5,000 miles away? Still, it does strike a chord. For the rule of the gulag is that there was nothing there so cynical or so horrible that it could not have been -- was not actually -- performed.


Consider. In the West after the war, with a boom in medical and dental school enrollment, there must have been a high demand for skeletons and skulls -- and a definite shortage. For the West had by this time become squeamish about death; it took dead bodies personally. So why not just surreptitiously provide it with what it needed, whatever the source -- and for valyuta, or hard currency?


I can't clearly say that this is what actually happened. I did call a couple of medical-supply houses in London to try to find out, but they weren't at all forthcoming. (They seemed to regard me as a prurient busybody, and the whole question of the source of actual, rather than plastic, skeletons as both vieux jeu and privileged information.) I also called one of London's teaching hospitals to see what they would say. The answer is nothing: They laughed; they said they very much doubted it; besides, they weren't in that line of business any more.


It's possible that somewhere out there is a Western doctor with a memory as long (and as particular) as that of the Harley Street dentist or a Russian doctor, perhaps, who remembers. For it is something that both I and the Harley Street dentist would dearly like to find out about, one way or another.