Several European low-cost airlines are known for having fleets consisting entirely of aircraft from within a single family. Wizz Air and easyJet currently run all-Airbus A320 family operations, while Ryanair operates entirely Boeing 737s. However, if you look a little further to the east, another carrier with a similar fleet model emerges – Aeroflot subsidiary Pobeda. This airline’s fleet is set to receive a boost this year in the form of 10 Boeing 737-800s from the Russian flag carrier.
Pobeda Airlines in a nutshell
Pobeda was founded in September 2014, and commenced operations less than three months later. It is a young airline but, with the backing of Russian flag carrier Aeroflot, of whom Pobeda is a low-cost subsidiary, it has grown quickly. Indeed, Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency reports that, by 2016, it was already the country’s sixth-largest carrier.
Pobeda’s largest hub is Moscow Vnukovo International Airport (VKO), the third-busiest in the Russian capital. However, it will reportedly see its prestige rise in May. This is when it is said to be set to commence operations from Moscow’s (and indeed Russia’s) busiest airport, Sheremetyevo International (SVO).
Approval of Aeroflot’s aircraft transfer
According to Planespotters.net, Pobeda’s existing fleet consists of 35 Boeing 737-800 aircraft. These young planes have an average age of just over four years old. This year will see the number grow to 45, as Aeroflot announced on Thursday that:
“The Board of Directors approved the related-party transaction for transfer by PJSC Aeroflot in a sublease to Pobeda Airlines of ten Boeing 737-800 aircraft. April – June 2021 will be the period of aircraft transfer.”
Aeroflot has cited Pobeda’s fast growth as justifying the additional 10 aircraft. It also states that its single-type fleet model is advantageous in terms of maintenance and operational efficiency. The Aeroflot planes are likely to be subjected to an interior refit, as SeatGuru reports that they presently sport a two-class, 158-seat configuration. Meanwhile, Pobeda’s existing all-economy jets seat a total of 189 passengers. The first transfer is set to take place next month.
Surprisingly successful last year
As coronavirus brought commercial aviation to a near-standstill last year, airlines worldwide struggled with its impacts. However, Pobeda managed to have a comparatively positive year, despite the challenging circumstances. Indeed, its traffic figures for July 2020 were comparable to the previous year, which suggested a strong rebound in the leisure markets it serves.
Pobeda’s end-of-year results also showed great promise. Simple Flying was told in December that, in Q3, its traffic had grown by as much as 12% year-on-year. The Russian domestic market had bounced back strongly, leading to high load factors of around 95% on Pobeda’s flights. This, along with the new aircraft from Aeroflot, forms a strong basis for further growth in 2021. Rather apt, it must be said, for a carrier whose name translates as ‘Victory.’
What do you make of this transfer of aircraft from Aeroflot to Pobeda? Have you ever flown with either the Russian flag carrier or its low-cost subsidiary? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments!