Angara Airlines (part of Eastland Group) postponed the decision on exercising an option for purchase of another 5 short-haul An-148 aircraft until 2015. The jets may be purchased under a financial lease agreement, Kommersant-Irkutsk reports with reference to a source close to the carrier.
«We will consider this possibility in 2015, the decision will depend on a number of factors», — he said. Among these factors are: market environment, production program of Voronezh Aircraft Production Association (VASO), price of the aircraft and a possibility of receiving federal subsidies.
The source said that Angara plans to take delivery of the last two An-148s in 2014 under a contract with VASO signed earlier. It was also reported that the airline is not going to open its service center in Irkutsk, despite any rumors about such possibility. «There is no point in establishing a service center intended for servicing the aircraft owned by other carriers, because An-148 fleet is not so large and the manufacturer is able to provide all the required MRO services», — he explained.
In late 2011 Ilyushin Finance & Co. (IFC), Angara Airlines and Eastland managing company signed a preliminary financial lease agreement for 10 An-148-100E aircraft. In particular, the agreement assumed delivery of 5 jets of the type in 2012-2013 and an option for delivery of five more ones in 2014. In March 2012 Angara Airlines, VASO and IFC signed a firm contract for delivery of 5 An-148 airliners: three of them were delivered to the carrier and put into service in late 2012 – early 2013.
Angara Airlines operates in Siberian Federal District and Yakutia; Angara is also one of the leading helicopter operators in the Eastern Siberia. The carrier’s fleet comprises 26 aircraft: 3 An-148s, 3 An-26-100s, 7 An-24s, 2 An-2s and 11 Mi-8 helicopters.