Over the weekend, a Pobeda Airlines Boeing 737-800 experienced an issue while flying from Saint Petersburg to the city of Cheboksary. During the November 14th flight, the crew decided to divert to Moscow Vnukovo Airport, reporting that it was experiencing a fuel system blockage.
According to The Aviation Herald, the Pobeda Airlines Boeing 737-800, registered as VQ-BTC, was performing flight DP-525 from Saint Petersburg (LED) to Cheboksary (CSY) with 140 people on board. It left Saint Petersburg at 10:23 and was scheduled to arrive at its destination at 12:10 local time.
The aircraft was en route at FL370, located about 90nm north of Moscow Vnukovo (VKO), when the crew made the decision to divert to the airport. It descended rapidly, reaching FL090 within just six minutes.
The aircraft performed a safe landing on Vnukovo’s runway 06, approximately 18 minutes after descending from FL370.
It was subsequently reported by the airport that the aircraft diverted due to a fuel system blockage.
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The reason for the diversion
Sources note that the aircraft chose to divert to Vnukovo even though the technical problem did not affect the flight’s safety. From the sounds of it, the aircraft could have safely made it to Cheboksary.
However, the problem would not have been an easy fix at the airport facilities in Cheboksary due to the lack of certified maintenance there. Conveniently, Pobeda’s main base is located at Moscow Vnukovo.
As for the passengers, a replacement Boeing 737-800, registered as VP-BPX, departed Vnukovo about one hour after the incident aircraft touched down. The aircraft managed to reach Cheboksary with a total delay of just 70 minutes.
The incident aircraft was able to return to service five hours after landing, flying three services later that same day. It conducted eight flights the following day (November 15th).
A member of the Aeroflot group, Pobeda’s first flight took off on December 1st of 2014. The airline is proud to mention that during its startup, 7,000 tickets were sold within the first 12 hours.
Since its early days, the airline has grown continuously, welcoming its one-millionth passenger after only seven months of operation. The airline then reached two million passengers after 10 months of operation.
According to Planespotters.net, the airline is an all-Boeing 737-800 fleet. It has a fleet size of 34 aircraft, with an average age of 3.4 years. While Airfleets notes that 30 of its aircraft are active and four are parked, Planespotters.net data shows that 29 aircraft are active and five are parked.
According to the Pobeda website, their 737-800 aircraft have 158 seats, including 20 seats containing extra legroom. The airline does not offer onboard refreshment services. In addition, Pobeda doesn’t allow passengers to take hot drinks onboard.
Have you ever flown with this Russian budget carrier before? If so, please share your experiences with us in the comments.