Russia’s Utair Aviation will lease two additional 186-seat Boeing 737NGs from Carlyle Aviation in 2020 while the Boeing 737 MAX grounding drags on. The carrier is negotiating two more aircraft of the same type, Utair said Nov. 13.

“Utair strategy does not imply fleet growth; we will replace current aircraft with more capacious and fuel-efficient planes. While Boeing 737 MAX delivery has shifted, we are renewing our fleet with Boeing 737NGs. But we expect to get MAX next year, after civil aviation authorities confirm its safety,” Utair passenger airline president Pavel Permyakov said.

The carrier signed a deal for 30 MAXs last year and expected to take six of the type in 2019-2020. Its fleet now includes 10 737NGs. The airline also operates the ATR 72 on regional routes, as well as Boeing 737 Classics.

Based at Moscow Vnukovo, Tyumen and Surgut, Utair carried 6 million passengers in the period from January-September, up 4.8% year-over-year.

Polina Montag-Girmes