Urging Americans to "come experience glasnost," the Soviet national airline Aeroflot is launching its first major marketing campaign in the United States.
Aeroflot, the world's largest airline, said it has increased its flights from New York and Washington to Moscow from five a week to eight as of June 5. The Soviets said they also plan to build about 25 new hotels in the next two years to handle an increase in foreign tourists.To make the plan work, airline officials told a news conference Wednesday, Aeroflot also would have to work to improve its reputation for bad service and inefficiency.
"It was difficult or terrible before to reach Aeroflot (by phone)," said George Terentiev, commercial manager for Aeroflot in the United States.
"Aeroflot recognizes we have a way to go to earn your confidence. Unlike Trump, we know it's hard to build a great airline overnight," he said, referring to an ad campaign by New York developer Donald Trump for his new shuttle service in the Northeast.
Some 125,000 Americans visited the Soviet Union last year, up from 110,000 in 1987 and 25,000 in 1980, when relations between the two countries hit a low point, according to Anatoly Matytsin, U.S. general manager for Intourist, the Soviet tourism organization.
Aeroflot officials said they plan to start an advertising campaign in U.S. travel publications and national newspapers later this year.