Antonov expects its new An-148 regional jet to win CIS AP-25 certification this month and to deliver the first production example, built by Ukraine’s Aviant, to Kazakhstan’s SCAT Airlines early next year, according to the Ukrainian design bureau’s deputy general designer, Oleksander Kiva. Together, Aviant and VASO of Voronezh, Russia, have started building seven production airplanes, the first of which should roll out of the Aviant plant this month. In all, SCAT expects to take delivery of two more airplanes next year, two in 2008 and a final pair in 2009.
Other contracts include firm orders with Ilyushin Finance covering a total of 18 airplanes due for delivery next year to lease customers Krasair of Russia, which plans to take 10, and Pulkovo Aviation, which signed a firm deal for eight. Krasair and Pulkovo also hold options on five and 10 airplanes, respectively.
Despite political tension between elements within the Russian and Ukrainian governments and VASO’s participation in the Russian Superjet project, a direct rival to the An-148, Antonov’s agreements with its Russian partners remain in effect, according to Kiva. Not only has Antonov granted VASO a license to assemble the airplanes in Voronezh, the Russian manufacturer also supplies the An-148’s tail section, rear fuselage, engine pylons and high-lift devices.
“Until now Aviant has received from Voronezh [parts] for three serial An-148s,” Kiva told AIN last month. “It is possible to say that our cooperation is developed in a previously agreed way…that VASO intends to participate in [the] Superjet program; we hope it will not influence our good partnership.”