Sudan is negotiating with Ukraine on purchasing five Antonov aircraft in the network of its fleet expansion program, RIA Novosti Ukraine reports with reference to Shuruk TV channel.
"The government has signed a preliminary agreement with Ukraine on delivery of five An-148 and An-158 aircraft", - the TV channel quotes the Minister of Transport of Sudan, Ahmed Babakra Ahmed, who visited Kiev last week.
According to Ahmed, this agreement may be finalized in the network of visit of Ukrainian delegation to Khartoum in March. It is expected that the final agreement will comprise a contract on maintenance of the jets in Khartoum performed by the specialists of Antonov. The minister believes that some part of the deal may be financed at the expense of credit provided by the company.
Sudan is short on aircraft due to economic sanctions imposed on the country by the USA. Sudan Airways, the Africa’s oldest airline, is unable to perform flights to Europe due to outdated fleet. Its fleet comprises less than 10 aircraft and most of them have been operated for a long time before their delivery to Sudan. The age of some aircraft exceeds 15 years.
Sudan army and government are operating Antonov aircraft; however, the accidents involving these aircraft have become more frequent. For example, the last accident took place in October 2012 – An-12 crashed near Khartoum (13 people died).