Antonov, responding to “strong market demand,” has launched a stretched version of its much-delayed 86-passenger An-148 regional passenger aircraft. The An-148-200 would seat 99 passengers in single-class and be ready for service entry in 2010, said Antonov general designed Dmytro Kiva. “We have identified a market for more than 200 aircraft out to 2015,” he said. “We’ll be ready to flight test the aircraft in 2009. It is an easy modification. We stretch the fuselage by 1.7 meters [5.5 feet].”
Kiva said the company holds letters of intent for 80 An-148-200s, split between Russian and Ukranian airlines. The company launched a VIP version of the aircraft in Moscow in May.
Meanwhile, the first passenger An-148 was completed on July 3, and Kiva said delivery to the first customer, Leasingtechtrans, is “imminent,” the same words he used at the 2007 Paris airshow. The aircraft is being produced at the Aviant factory in Kiev, Ukraine, and VASO in Voronezh, Russia.
Orders for the original An-148-100 stand at 52 firm and 80 options, according to Antonov.