The privately-owned company says it has signed a preliminary agreement with Boeing for the supply of 15 extended range 737s.
“A firm order should be signed within a few months. We’re currently negotiating the terms of supply and aircraft specifications,” first deputy general manager Sergey Kazakevich told local reporters, adding that VIM-Avia has already made an advance payment under the Boeing agreement.
He notes operational efficiency of the 737-900 is around twice that of the 757, hence the decision to switch to the new Boeing type.
Deliveries of the 737s are due to start at the end of 2012 or beginning of 2013. “Boeing has no available production slots at an earlier time,” says Kazakevich.
Boeing offers a 737 -900ER as well as the standard 737-900, providing about 500nm (925km) more range than the standard model.
VIM-Avia currently has a dozen wholly-owned and four leased 757-200s which will remain in passenger service until 2012.
There are suggestions that Vim-Avia could transfer them to its cargo affiliate Russian Sky following delivery of the 737s.
Over the past year, Vim-Avia has increased passenger numbers by more than half. In the first quarter of 2007, its revenues reached $63 million.