PERESTROIKA: Coffee, Tea or Camaraderie?

Coffee, Tea or Camaraderie?

Not even stand-up comic Yakov Smirnoff could exaggerate the absurd reality of flying Aeroflot, the Soviet airline. Passengers must endure dismissive ticket agents, brusque cabin crews, delays as long as three days and white-knuckle flights on ancient jets. As a monopoly, Aeroflot nonetheless carried 120 million travelers last year, making it the world's largest carrier.

But in the latest example of perestroika, a new airline called ASDA is being formed to compete with Aeroflot. Staffed by Soviet air force veterans and disgruntled Aeroflot pilots, the carrier will fly rented Boeing 747s on long- haul routes connecting such far-flung points as Kiev,...

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