Smartavia (formerly Nordavia), Russia’s private regional airline, has completed its fleet renewal programme for this year. Since the rejuvenation project’s start in 2018, the carrier has received nine Boeing 737NGs. The airline is planning to retire all its remaining mature Boeing 737-500s in 2020 whilst increasing the fleet size up to 20 aircraft.
The most recent arrival in the ranks of Smartavia’s fleet is a Boeing 737-800 (VQ-BBV), which arrived at its Arkhangelsk airport base on July 25. Leased from GECAS, it is the seventh additional aircraft to be put into operation this year. Previously, this 10-year-old aircraft was operated by Indian carrier Jet Airways. The single-class, 189-seat full economy aircraft made its first Smartavia flight from Arkhangelsk to Moscow Domodedovo on Sunday.
“We have successfully completed the 2019 aircraft renewal programme, but we plan to continue our work in this direction and will take delivery of four more Boeing 737NGs next year,” stresses Sergey Savostin, Smartavia’s chief executive.
Between 2020 and 2022, Smartavia expects to receive four aircraft of this type each year. If this ambition is fulfilled, in 2022, the airline’s all-Boeing fleet will consist of 20 737NGs.
Smartavia began its fleet renewal project last year. Prior to that, the carrier had nine vintage B737-500s at its disposal but, as part of the renewal and the company’s rebranding exercise, within a year, the carrier replaced three aircraft with next-generation versions.
The carrier plans to decommission three more ‘classics’ by the end of this year and the complete phasing out of its Boeing 737CLs is scheduled for 2020.
Currently, Smartavia’s fleet consists of 15 units, six of which are fully owned B737-500s. Three B737-700s and six B737-800s are all on operating lease. Technical support for the Boeing 737NG fleet is to be provided by Lufthansa Technik. Smartavia and the German maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) provider signed an agreement to that effect in early June.
In first half of 2019 Smartavia transported 666,300 passengers, up 39 percent year-on-year.
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