Russian budget airline Pobeda is committing to acquiring 20 Boeing 737 Max 8s, with an option to convert some to the high-density ‘Max 200’ variant.

It is to take 15 of the aircraft from lessor SMBC Aviation Capital and another five from GECAS, it states in a formal procurement notice.

Pobeda’s aircraft from SMBC will come with a conversion option to switch seven of them to the ‘Max 200’ configuration.

This version has 197 seats, compared with the normal 189, and has already been ordered by budget carriers Ryanair and VietJet.

The five GECAS aircraft will all be regular Max 8s, the airline’s notice indicates.

Pobeda puts the value of the SMBC batch at $1.235 billion and that of the GECAS aircraft at $375 million.

The aircraft are all exclusively powered by CFM International Leap-1B engines.

Moscow Vnukovo-based Pobeda is already a Boeing 737-800 operator but had recently signalled that it was looking at the re-engined Max variant during a recruitment drive for pilots.

Pobeda estimates that the delivery of the SMBC aircraft will begin in November 2019 and run to November 2021, while that of the GECAS jets will take place in the first half of 2020.

Source: Cirium Dashboard