The Antonov Design Bureau pays close attention to the operation of its products. Our aircraft are used in over 70 countries, and our firm's specialists endeavor to provide active client support everywhere.
I would like to tell you about An-148 operations in Ukraine. The first aircraft to be delivered was given manufacturer serial number 01-01 (MSN01-01), and civilian registration UR-NTA. A week after being handed over to the airline for operation, it made its first passenger flight on the Kharkov-Kiev route. It happened the second of J une 2009. A whole year has passed since then. We saw to it that both the maiden flight and the first anniversary were special occasions, making them memorable.
Here are the initial results of An-148 operation: we have established flights throughout Ukraine, flying to various airports. Late last year, service was started to other CIS countries, and then to Western Europe. We are continuing to add new destinations. Until recently, the average sector length was 1 hr. and 20 min.; we now have reached a duration of up to 2.5 hours. In other words, our sectors are increasing. The first routes were one-hour flights (from Kiev to Odessa, Simferopol, or Lvov), so that any faults could be fixed quickly. Now that the problem flow has declined considerably, it's become possible to expand the network of routes served by An- 148s, and the sector lengths continue to grow. In May, for example, we started flights to Thessaloniki, Greece.
Let me note one peculiarity about operating URNTA. Most of its faults had to do with the airframe and avionics. Why the airframe? Because this particular aircraft, MSN01-01, was the first An-148 to undergo intensive use in the process of factory and certification tests. Its design has some peculiarities. Subsequent An-148 aircraft had design changes based on the experience of testing MSN01-01.
It's worth noting that the An-148 is a new-generation passenger jetliner, created with the use of cutting- edge technologies. It's full of sophisticated equipment and features modern performance levels. Even the leading Western producers don't have such an advanced aircraft in this class. On delivery, the first jetliner drew some minor criticisms concerning the overhead bins and paintwork. Some of them were repeated when Rossiya Russian Airlines took delivery of the RA-61701 aircraft from the VASO plant. Yet these comments are of a somewhat different nature. More complaints were received about the airframe. Tests and operation revealed some design flaws, which we endeavored to eliminate once the An-148 was in regular production, and we have made some progress on that: the aircraft delivered to Rossiya were assembled with the changes we managed to make.
How do we see cooperation between designers and operators? Firstly, we train pilots and cabin crew - over a hundred specialists have undergone training. We train them efficiently, in the understanding that a very important stage of initial operation is under way.