An-148 aircraft manufactured by Voronezh Aircraft Manufacturing Company (VASO, part of United Aircraft Corporation (UAC)) landed at Irkutsk airport on October 29th 2012. It is the first out of three jets to be delivered to Angara Airlines in 2012 in accordance with the contract between the airline, VASO and Ilyushin Finance & Co. leasing company. The contract was signed in March 2012, press-service of VASO reports. AEX.ru
«The flight was successful», – head of An-148 program at VASO, Igor Abramov, said. At first it was planned to perform the flight a day earlier with a refueling in Novosibirsk. The pilots should have spent the night there and then continue their flight to Irkutsk. «However, we decided to perform direct flight from Voronezh to Irkutsk, - Abramov said. – The duration of this flight was 5 hours and 25 minutes without any refueling. The aircraft was piloted by the operator’s crew».
The solemn ceremony dedicated to the delivery of the first An-148 to Angara Airlines was held at Irkutsk airport on October 30th. Representatives of the regional authorities, Ilyushin Finance & Co. (IFC) and Federal Air Transport Agency have taken part in the ceremony, press-service of VASO noted.
VASO has finalized the delivery of the second An-148 to IFC on October 26th. The delivery of third jet is scheduled for November 2012.
UAC’s press-service noted that the new jets will significantly expand the geography of flights of Angara Airlines by means of opening new domestic and international destinations. "In the network of preparation of An-148 for the operation from unpaved runways and under severe weather conditions VASO has completed additional scope of work. The jet is equipped with its own entrance stairs and additional protection in the landing gear compartment, which allows expanding the operational capabilities of An-148 jets", - UAC explained.
The airline intends to start flights in December after the acquisition of second and third aircraft. Ten crews have been trained to pilot these jets, the corporation’s press-service added.
Angara Airlines is the third Russian airline to operate An-148 besides Rossiya – Russian Airlines and Polet Airlines. The Russia’s largest operator of An-148 aircraft is St. Petersburg-based Rossiya – Russian Airlines (the airline operates six An-148s). The deliveries of these aircraft to the state customers will be started soon.