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Russian budget carrier Pobeda to downsize Boeing fleet

MOSCOW (AFP) – Russian budget airline Pobeda – a subsidiary of flag carrier Aeroflot – will significantly reduce its Boeing fleet following sanctions, Russian media reported on Friday.

Pobeda will downsize its fleet of Boeing 737-800s from 41 to 25 aircraft due to a lack of parts, the RIA Novosti news agency reported, citing a letter to employees from Acting Head Andrei Yurikov.

“We made a strategic decision… to maintain flight safety and for the sake of our common future we will reduce the fleet to 25 aircraft,” Yurikov said in the letter cited by RIA Novosti.
The same letter was quoted by business publications RBC and Kommersant.

The remaining aircraft would not fly until the end of the year so there would be enough spare parts for the company “until lost supply chains are restored”, Yurikov added.

Yurikov said that measures will also be taken to retain employees, including through “a shortened work week or furlough scheme”.

Western capitals have slapped Russia with a slew of sanctions over its military operation in Ukraine since February 24.

As part of the response, Russian carriers were banned from the airspace of the entire European Union, the United Kingdom and Canada.

Russian airlines Aeroflot and S7 have announced a suspension of all international flights, while Russia’s largest airport, Sheremetyevo in Moscow, said it was cutting back its services as passenger traffic dropped.

Aeroflot’s passengers planes are parked at Sheremetyevo airport outside Moscow, Russia. PHOTO: AP