Russian carrier VIM-Avia is considering expanding its fleet with a Boeing 777 wide-body aircraft. The airline has posted job opportunities for experienced Boeing 777 engineering and technical staff currently carrying B1/B2 licenses for the aircraft type. The responsibilities of this new staff would include “Boeing 777 maintenance and defect rectification,” the posting reads.
In response to Russian Aviation Insider’s inquiry regarding VIM-Avia’s intentions, the airline’s spokesperson, Elena Fedorova, mentioned that the carrier has signed several letters of intent, including for Boeing 767 and 777. She explained that the carrier’s interest in the long-haul aircraft is included in its plans to “expand the route network.”
“It’s only a [preliminary] agreement at this stage, and I cannot say what aircraft types will enter service in the near term,” she commented.
VIM-Avia, which received its Air Operator Certificate in 2003, for a long time operated a monotype fleet of Boeing 757-200 aircraft, the first of which entered service with the airline in 2004. At the end of November 2015, VIM-Avia’s fleet consisted of six 757-200s and four Airbus A319s, according to the Federal Air Transport Agency’s data. The Airbuses were acquired in the spring of 2014 in line with the management’s strategy to shift the company’s focus towards regular route service.
Should the Boeing 777 project materialize, VIM-Avia will become the type’s fourth Russian operator after Aeroflot, OrenAir and NordWind. The now defunct Transaero also operated the type, so VIM-Avia should not experience difficulties in its search for experienced maintenance staff.
Notably, rumors of VIM-Avia’s expanding its fleet with a new type have been heard regularly throughout the past decade. There were plans to add A321 and Boeing 717 in 2001, Tu-204SM and Bombardier CS300 in 2013, Embraer E195 in 2014 and Boeing 767 in 2015. But to this date none of these projects have been realized.
From January through November 2015, VIM-Avia carried 1.51 million passengers, the same number of passengers it carried during the same period in 2014. The airline is 12th among Russian airlines by number of passengers carried.
Russian Aviation Insider
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