Azur Air becomes Russia’s first Boeing 737-900 operator

Azur Air B737-900ER with tail number VQ-BYX, was previously operated by Azur Air Germany (Azur Air)

With the delivery of a Boeing 737-900 to Azur Air, Russia’s biggest charter carrier becomes the country’s first operator of the largest member of the B737NG family. Another example of the type is expected to join its fleet soon.

The aircraft, with tail number VQ-BYX, is an extended range (ER) modification of the 737-900 and comes equipped with 215 passenger seats in a single-class configuration (including 24 seats in Premium economy). Built in 2007, it was previously operated by Azur Air’s German sister airline Azur Air Germany, which ceased operations on September 26.

The Russian airline plans to use the newly-delivered aircraft across its entire medium-haul network and expects that replacing the existing Boeing 737-800 with the -900ER on a number of routes will “foster the formation of a more economically attractive offer in the Russian leisure air travel market,” states Yury Stogny, the airline’s general director. The larger aircraft will help “satisfy the demand from [travel agency] partners as well as individual travellers on a number of medium-haul flights,” he adds.

The Russian leisure carrier, which is expecting a second B737-900 to be transferred to its fleet from Azur Air Germany before the end of this year, operates flights on behalf of the Turkey-backed Anex Tour travel company, and currently has 24 aircraft on its roster: eight Boeing 757-200s, eight Boeing 767-300s, six Boeing 737-800s, one Boeing 737-900ER and a Boeing 777-300ER.

In the meantime, its Moscow-based rival Nordwind, which is part of another Turkish tourist agency — Pegas Touristik group, also has plans to start operating the type before the end of 2018. In the wider CIS, 737-900s are currently operated by Tajikistan’s Somon Air and by Ukraine International Airlines.

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