Russian carrier Atlant-Soyuz is to begin withdrawing its Ilyushin Il-86s early next year, and has disclosed agreements to introduce several Boeing 737-800s to its fleet.

Atlant-Soyuz has eight Il-86s but will phase out three of the aircraft in February-March 2009.

While the type is used for holiday flights to destinations in countries such as Egypt and Turkey, the carrier says its operations have become increasingly limited by noise restrictions.

It is waiting until the end of the 2008-09 winter season to begin phasing out the Il-86s, in order to avoid a shortage of capacity, particularly in its traditional Egyptian business.

The Moscow-based airline says it is “considering the possibility” of replacing the widebodies but says its fleet renewal is currently focused on bringing in 737s.

Atlant-Soyuz stated last year that it had ordered four 737-700s but today reveals that it has agreements to take six 737-800s, the first of which will join the carrier in October.

Another three will arrive in November and the other two will be introduced the following January.

It says the aircraft are six to eight years old, adding: “The agreement provides an option to purchase another five to seven aircraft of this type, two of which are new.”

Atlant-Soyuz says the 737s covered by its earlier order are due for delivery in 2010-11. By 2011, it adds, it intends to have around 12-15 737s.

Source:'s sister premium news site Air Transport Intelligence news

Source: Flight International