Russia’s first Boeing 737MAX is delivered

russia first boeing 737max The first aircraft for the S7 Airlines arrived at Novosibirsk airport (Alexander Listopad)

Deliveries to Russia of Boeing’s much-vaunted new 737MAX family of the re-engined, narrow-body aircraft have begun. Today, October 13, the first Boeing 737MAX-8 aircraft, with tail number VQ-BGW and painted in the green livery of S7 Airlines, arrived at Novosibirsk’s Tolmachevo Airport. The airplane is leased via Air Lease Corp. S7 plans to take 10 more 737MAX jets over the next two years as part of its strategic plan to strengthen its airplane fleet.

The plan to acquire this latest iteration of the type by S7 Group, parent company of Sibir and Globus airlines, both of which fly under the S7 Airlines brand, was announced two years ago. In total, eleven such aircraft have been ordered by the Siberian company, with the delivery of the second unit planned for the end of this month. Globus, which employs all of the group’s Boeings, will be the operator of the first aircraft, while S7 Airlines utilises the A320 family as well as Embraer E170s.

The CFM International LEAP-1B engine, which powers Boeing’s new 737MAX family of aircraft, gained Russian type certification last month. Because of its improved fuel efficiency, the B737MAX allows the carrier to fly longer direct routes such as from Novosibirsk to the countries of south-east Asia. One of the first Asian routes for S7’s new Boeing 737MAX will be Vietnam.

Three other big Russian airlines – Utair, Ural Airlines and the country’s sole low-cost carrier Pobeda Airlines (part of Aeroflot Group) – are all confirmed customers for the type, with their deliveries expected to start in 2019. Several other carriers, such as Yakutia and Izhavia, have also indicated an interest in the re-engined narrow-body.

Kazakh private airline SCAT is the first in the former Soviet Union territories to fly the MAX, after taking delivery of its first B737MAX 8 aircraft in March. Other CIS customers anticipating deliveries of the aircraft next year are AZAL and Belavia, the national carriers of Azerbaijan and Belarus respectively.

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