The 80-seat Antonov An-148-100 won type approval from Russian and Ukrainian authorities in late February, marking the successful completion of the first new regional jet design in the former Soviet Union since the fall of the Iron Curtain.
Kazakh airline SCAT plans to take the first of two airplanes scheduled for delivery from Ukrainian supplier Aviant this year. Ten production airplanes stand in various stages of completion at Aviant’s plant in Kiev, while Russian supplier VASO has begun final assembly on two at its facilities in Voronezh, southwest Russia.
During the February 26 ceremonies, attended by Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich and various government and industry dignitaries, Ilyushin Finance Co. signed a deal to lease 10 VASO-built An-148s to Russia’s Polyet Airlines next year. Plans to integrate Russia’s aerospace industry under the United Aircraft banner include a goal to assemble 78 An-148s at the VASO plant over the next six years. Aviant plans to build 34 by 2010.
VASO’s status as one of the An-148’s two final-assembly contractors has survived political tension between elements within the Russian and Ukrainian governments and conflicts arising from its participation in the Russian Superjet project, a direct rival to the Antonov product. 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.
Along with the 10-airplane order for Voronezh-based Polyet, Ilyushin Finance has spoken for another 18 An-148s, 10 of which it plans to lease to Krasnoyarsk’s Krasair and eight to St. Petersburg-based Pulkovo Aviation. Krasair and Pulkovo also hold options on five and 10 airplanes, respectively.