Russia’s only low-cost carrier’s fleet grows to 18 aircraft

Russia's only low-cost carrier’s fleet grows to 18 aircraft Pobeda LCC’s fleet will reach 24 B737-800s by the end of the year (Pobeda)

Russian all-B737-800 low-cost airline Pobeda has taken delivery of its 18th of the type, in a fleet enlargement which, by the end of the year, will have grown to 24 aircraft of the type, the airline, which is part of the Aeroflot group, reveals.

Like all other Pobeda Boeing 737-800 models, the latest – tail number VP-BPU (MSN 61792) and powered by CFM56-7 engines – has a layout designed to accommodate 189 passengers, the maximum possible for this 737 variant.

The new arrival is leased from Singapore-based BOC Aviation and is the sixth of eight that Pobeda has contracted with this lessor. Another lessor of the type to be delivered to Pobeda, is Ireland-based SB Leasing Ireland Ltd, a subsidiary of Sberbank, Russia’s biggest bank.

Plans to take delivery of two more B737-800s by the summer will allow it to increase its number of regional flights, including strengthening its foothold at St Petersburg’s Pulkovo Airport. The remaining four will be delivered after the summer period, the airline has explained to ATO.ru, Russian Aviation Insider’s sister publication.

Originally, Pobeda had expected to operate a fleet of 40 aircraft by the end of 2018, but its parent Aeroflot decided to postpone a number of deliveries.

Despite this scaling back, Russia’s only low-cost carrier hopes to carry six million passengers this year, a 30 per cent improvement on 2017. This increase will be achieved not only by growing the fleet size, but also from increased aircraft utilisation helped by a reduction of aircraft turnaround times at many of its destination airports.

Typically, Nizhnekamsk’s Begishevo airport has been able to achieve remarkably fast service turnaround times as low as 20 minutes, and many other regional and international airports such as Russia’s Astrakhan, Volgograd and Kaliningrad airports – and Germany’s Cologne have all managed to provide 25-minute turnaround times for Pobeda aircraft.

Meanwhile, the latest available statistics show that in the first two months of 2018, the low-fare operator has already enjoyed healthy passenger traffic growth by almost 40 per cent, whilst cargo transportation has grown 111 times against the figures of January-February 2017.

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