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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Aeroflot Sticks By Hammer and Sickle

Aeroflot's hammer-and-sickle logo

Although Aeroflot is desperately trying to shed its Soviet image, it isn't quite ready to make good on a promise to give up the most cherished part of its 70-year-old heritage: its hammer-and-sickle logo.

But just in case it decides to change its mind again, the winged logo painted on its 100-plus jets will be replaced with easily removable stickers.

Deputy Aeroflot general director Lev Koshlyakov said Tuesday that the airline decided to stick with the hammer and sickle because it couldn't come up with a better logo.

"Changing a 70-year-old logo is a big responsibility," he said by telephone. "We have to make sure that the new logo isn't any worse than the old one."

Aeroflot has been reviewing a number of new designs, including one that replaces the hammer and sickle with a globe. But none of them have been deemed satisfactory.

In a widely publicized decision, the state-owned airline said in December that it would drop the hammer and sickle on the advice of its image consultant, Identica.

The British firm has been advising Aeroflot on how to spruce up its image for the past two years. Aeroflot intends to go ahead with another recommendation from Identica to repaint its planes silver, navy blue and orange.

Identica refused to comment on the hammer-and-sickle reversal Tuesday.

"I am afraid I am not allowed to comment on it at all. Aeroflot has asked us not to say anything, so I am afraid I cannot actually give any comment," Identica spokesman Brendan Martin said by telephone from London.

Koshlyakov said a survey of passengers and airline personnel about dumping the old logo had yielded mixed results.

He also said the airline is facing mounting pressure over which logo to use because it has to paint some new Airbus and Boeing jets ahead of their delivery this summer.

Aeroflot is swapping 27 Airbuses and Boeings for new aircraft under a restructuring that will give it the youngest fleet in Europe.

The airline expects to save $95 million per year once the swap is completed in 2005.

Yelena Sakhnova, transportation analyst with United Financial Group, said keeping the hammer and sickle was bad news for Aeroflot, which reaps 70 percent of all revenues from international flights and has made great efforts to target international passengers.

"There was a slew of positive reports in the Western media after Aeroflot announced that it would take the Soviet logo down," she said.

"Of course, changing the logo does not automatically translate into better service, but it is a very important step," she said.

Koshlyakov said Aeroflot is not overly fond of the hammer and sickle and will start to replace the painted logo on all aircraft with sticker versions.

"Now we will be using logos on stickers that can be peeled off if a decision is made to change the logo," he said.