Russian low-cost airline Pobeda announced the cancellation of its contract with Boeing over the planned acquisition of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.
On August 16, 2021, the low-cost subsidiary of Aeroflot Group announced that it dropped the contract with the US plane manufacturer since Russia has not recertified the jet yet. Even though the move comes as a serious breach of the contract between Pobeda and Boeing, the airline will not receive any penalty.
“We have waived solid contracts for Boeing 737 MAX without any penalty,” Andrei Kalmykov, the Chief Executive Officer of Pobeda confirmed the decision to the Russian news agency TASS.
In 2018, Aeroflot Group was considering the potential purchase of 30 Boeing 737 MAX 8 jets for its subsidiary Pobeda. At the time, the owner of the low-cost air carrier was negotiating over the possibility of converting an undefined number of aircraft into Boeing 737 MAX 10 or the 737 MAX 8-200 variants.
But in early 2019, Aeroflot changed its mind and narrowed the initial potential order to 20 Boeing 737 MAX 8s. The move was taken as the group planned to acquire more Russian-made commercial passenger jets instead of foreign planes in the airlines’ fleets in the future.
In the meantime, Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency Rosaviatsia banned all Boeing 737 MAX operations in the Russian airspace due to two fatal crashes within a period of about six months – the first one in Indonesia in October 2018, and the second in Ethiopia in March 2019. Although Russia was considering to lift the ban several times throughout the more than 2.5 year-period, the government has not decided on a clear date for potential recertification of the plane yet.
However, Alexander Neradko, the head of Rosaviatsia confirmed to TASS that the Boeing 737 MAX ban in the country might be lifted as soon as the general epidemiological state in Russia improves.
As for now, none of the Aeroflot Group subsidiaries owns Boeing 737 MAX planes. The data of Planespotters.com indicates that Pobeda operates a monogamous fleet currently consisting of 44 Boeing 737-800 planes, while the average fleet age stands at 4.2 years.