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Smartavia Plans to Own 20 Boeing 737NGs by 2022

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Russian airline Smartavia, also known as Nordavia-Regional Airlines is continuing to renew its fleet with Boeing 737-700s, Rusaviainsider.com reports. Earlier this month, the Arkhangelsk-registered carrier launched flights with its third and, during this summer, four more Boeing 737-800s will join Smartavia’s fleet.

The company recently revealed its strategic plans which says it is phasing out its classic Boeing 737-500s and is expected to replace them with NGs so that in 2022, the airline will operate 20 Boeing 737NGs. In the first four months of this year, the fleet development initiative has already provided a positive impact, with both passenger numbers and seat load factors up in the period, Smartavia said.

Smartavia’s first flight of its newly delivered third B737-700 operated the Arkhangelsk-Moscow (Domodedovo) route on June 4. Like the two other aircraft of this type in the airline’s fleet, the latest accommodates 146 passengers in economy class. Also this year, the airline is anticipating the delivery of four more 189-seat B737-800s, with one aircraft of this type already in the expanding airline’s fleet.

Smartavia received its first Boeing 737NG a year ago. Prior to that, the carrier had, for many years, relied on its nine vintage B737-500s. Last year, Smartavia stopped operating three of these aircraft and currently there are six fully owned B737-500s. These aircraft, built in 1990-1993, are configured to accommodate 132-135 passengers in economy class.

According to Sergey Savostin, the airline’s chief executive, three more B737-500s are to be withdrawn by the end of 2019 and next year Smartavia is to ground the last three of the type so that its reliance on the Boeing 737 Classic will finally be ceased.

Maintenance support for the carrier’s Boeing 737NG fleet is to be provided by Lufthansa Technik after Smartavia and the German maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) provider signed an agreement to that effect on June 6.

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Moscow Shrugs Off Calls of US Nominee for UN Ambassador to up Pressure on Russia

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Moscow is not paying attention to statements made by Kelly Craft, a candidate for the post of the US ambassador to the United Nations, that the pressure on Russia must be increased, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said on Thursday.

“This is not surprising,” Ryabkov said. “Perhaps present-day Washington is not picking up other candidates for this post. But we are used to such signals and are not paying any attention to them.”

Speaking earlier in the week at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s session, Craft announced that Russia was not a friend for the United States and Washington would continue building up its pressure on Moscow.

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Kyrgyz Parliament Votes to Strip Former President of Immunity

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Kyrgyzstan’s parliament has upheld a parliamentary commission’s regulation stripping the country’s former President Almazbek Atambayev of immunity, a parliamentary source told TASS.

“The lawmakers have supported the special commission’s decision that ex-President Atambayev be stripped of immunity,” the source said, adding that 95 out of the 100 legislators present at the parliament meeting had voted in favor of the move, while five had voted against it.

However, according to the source, the president won’t be immediately stripped of immunity. “Under the law, the process will be completed only after the Prosecutor General’s Office issues a positive assessment on the matter and the lawmakers approve it, so there will be another vote,” the source pointed out.

The commission on stripping the former president of immunity, established on June 13, includes members of all six parliamentary factions. Parliament members are supposed to complete the process within three months, otherwise the accusations will be considered abandoned.

The former president is particularly suspected of being involved in corruption schemes related to the reconstruction of Bishkek’s thermal power plant and Historical Museum, the unlawful release of crime boss Aziz Batukayev and illegal deliveries of coal to Bishkek’s thermal power plants, as well as in reassigning plots of land in the country’s Issyk-Kul Region and illegally obtaining a plot of land to build a residential house in the Koi-Tash settlement, Chuy Region.

Atambayev served as Kyrgyz president in 2011-2017.

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Russia Welcomes Idea for Persian Gulf Countries to Sign Non-Aggression Pact

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Russia considers as interesting and productive Iran’s proposal for Persian Gulf countries to sign a non-aggression pact, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said on Thursday.

“We have perceived with interest the recent proposal by Iranian Foreign Minister Mr. [Javad] Zarif that Persian Gulf countries should sign a non-aggression pact. This is also a productive idea,” the senior Russian diplomat said.

Zarif earlier stated that Tehran was seeking to establish balanced relations with Persian Gulf countries and was ready to sign a non-aggression pact with them.

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