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Somon Air wants to replace a Boeing 737 MAX 8 on order with the 737-800

Dushanbe, Tajikistan - Tajik carrier Somon Air wants to convert a Boeing 737 MAX 8 to the Boeing 737-800 due to the safety concerns and uncertainty surrounding the aircraft.

Last year, the airline signed a lease agreement with the American lessor Air Lease Corporation to add a Boeing 737 MAX 8 to its fleet. Somon Air is expected to receive the aircraft later this year, but the management wants to replace it now with its predecessor Boeing 737-800.

The worldwide grounding of the 737 MAX jets after two deadly crashes increased global demand to the Boeing's previous generation single-aisle.

Last week, the American aircraft manufacturer delivered the last Boeing 737 NG to the Singapore-based lessor BOC Aviation. The limited availability of the legendary single-aisle would impact the Tajik operator's decision.

Read: End of an era: Boeing delivers the last aircraft of the 737NG series

There's been an order from the board of directors to stop the order. They just hear things and none of it positive … I am not willing to go 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 in Tajikistan will be open to my argument, Somon Air CEO Thomas Hallam told Forbes.

Somon Air had planned to launch new medium-haul routes with the arrival of the 737 MAX 8, such as Dushanbe - Frankfurt.

Tajikistan's only private airline currently operates two Boeing 737-300, two Boeing 737-800, and two B737-900ER.