In a further blow to Boeing’s 737 MAX crisis, Somon Air has announced it will not be proceeding with its agreement to lease a MAX later this year. The airline’s CEO, Thomas Hallam, stated that senior executives saw a lack of confidence in the aircraft and made the decision. He added: “They’re [airline executives] just hearing things and none of it’s positive…I am not willing to move forward until the aircraft is back in operation, until there’s some experience – beyond my own personal experience – that can be convincing, so that people will be open to my argument.”
Although the cancellation involves just one aircraft, and it was owned by ACL, the decision will not significantly impact Boeing’s order book. But, Somon’s cancellation does indicate a growing dissatisfaction with the aircraft manufacture to resolve the issues with the MAX quickly. This is compounded by no specific timeline being released as to when the aircraft will likely return to widespread service.
Somon Air’s fleet comprises just six aircraft, all Boeing 737s. The MAX was to be the first of its type for the operator. It was rumoured that the airline was looking to shift its entire fleet to the MAX variant within the next few years, but this has now been cancelled, while the airline looks at alternative options.
Somon Air is a small private carrier operating from Dushanbe International Airport in Tajikistan. It is the country’s national carrier and operates to 24 destinations including Germany and the UAE.