Many people used to call Southwest Airlines an “oil company with wings.” Well, what if you could find an oil company that ran an airline on the side? I did.
Gazprom is the world’s largest extractor of natural gas. Not only that, they have also extracted tens of millions of barrels of crude oil. They are one of the largest companies in Russia. One interesting thing is that around 2,800 of Gazprom’s 393,000 employees work in their aviation division.
Is this a private employee shuttle? Not always. At first glance, one would assume their fleet of Superjets, Yak-42Ds, Tu-154Ms, and even 737-700s (as well as over one hundred helicopters) ply the vast Siberian and Arctic skies from oilfield to oilfield. Nope — they also provide scheduled passenger service. One would think this would be an easy way to catch a ride on a Yakovlev Yak-42 . This is Russia; there’s always a catch!