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Russian-Ukrainian Antonov An-148 medium-haul plane

Moscow renewed long-stalled cooperation with Ukrainian aircraft manufacturers for eventual joint production of the airplanes, following the recent thaw in Russian-Ukrainian relations. The basic An-148 variant is designed to carry 70-90 passengers up to 5,000 kilometers. It is produced at the Ukrainian Antonov design bureau in Ukraine and in the western Russian city of Voronezh at a cost of around $20 million per plane.

Sukhoi and Antonov could avoid being rivals, if Sukhoi launched the production of 95-110-seat longer-range RRJ aircraft (3,000 km-5,000 km), while Antonov produced the 70-80-seat planes of shorter range (1,000 km-2,000 km). Russia is definitely interested in the An-148 project, because Russian enterprises produce 69% of the aircraft component parts.

The An-148/158 aircraft are equipped with D-436-148 engine produced by Motor Sich in Ukraine. Motor Sich in the short-term has a mandate to supply engines for first 50 machines. Establishment of a joint venture confirms high demand for An-148/158-type aircrafts which is estimated by Illushin Finance at 400 items over next 15 years. However, given that Russians insist that demand could be twice as high if the aircraft is equipped with non-Motor-Sich engines, there is a risk of Motor Sichs involvement in the project decreasing in the mid to long-term.

In Russia, the Ilyushin Finance Co, (IFC) is in charge of aircraft sales, operational and financial leasing. It already has tentative agreements with Russian companies for the purchase of 54 aircraft. The Ukrainian airline Aerosvit wants to buy 10 An-148's from the Voronezh assembly plant, and Kazakhstan, another seven. VASO initially planned to assemble about 250 aircraft in 10 years.

The license agreement gave Russia the right to develop the basic An-148 version into a military transport, special aircraft, cargo and cargo-passenger planes. In expert estimates, the Russian armed forces and other power structures may require up to 200 such aircraft for the maritime patrol service, units of radio-electronic warfare, radio-technical and tactical reconnaissance, the airborne command center, and as a refueler.

Besides the Il-96, as of mid-2006 VASO was engaged on the production of assemblies for 5 An-148 aircraft for the Antonov Aviation Scientific and Technical Complex. In addition, the company already had 33 orders for this aircraft and another 20 were being discussed. The sale of 96 VASO-manufactured AN-148s is included into the Plan of civil aircraft production by the United Aircraft Building Corporation for 2008-2012 approved by the Russian Government Decree of March 28, 2007. At the meeting of the partners on the program, Mikhail Shushpanov, Director General of VASO, said: All the barriers for AN-148 serial production launch in Voronezh are taken away. We are preparing to sign the contract on production of the first 34 airplanes. AN-148 serial production for Russia was launched at Voronezh Aircraft Building JSC (VASO). Assembly of the first four production airplanes for the Russian customers was to be completed in 2008. In 2009 VASO planned to construct 12 AN-148s, in 2010 18, in 2011 26 ones and starting from 2012 36 aircraft of AN-148 annually.

In June 2008 the Voronezh-based aircraft manufacturer VASO launched production of an An-148 regional medium-haul plane. The United Aircraft Corporation chief executive Alexei Fyodorov said the first aircraft would roll off the assembly line before the end of the year. The Ilyushin Finance aircraft leasing company said five aircraft would be built in 2009, 18 in 2010, and 36 in 2011. It also said 50 aircraft would be built annually from 2013 onwards. Ilyushin Finance has signed a contract with the United Aircraft Corporation to buy 34 An-148's in 2008-10 and another 30 in 2011-12, worth a total of 40 billion rubles ($1.6 billion). In its basic modification, the An-148 is designed to carry 70-90 passengers up to 5,000 kilometers. It costs an estimated $20 million to produce, which is cheaper than Sukhoi's SuperJet-100 (around $28 million).

As of late 2008, the volume of solid orders for the aircraft until 2012, which may appear on the market already before the end of the year, was estimated at more than 50 machines. Among the customers were SCC 'Russia', the group of companies AirUnion (Krasnoyarsk), the group of companies 'Volga-Dnepr', the airlines 'Polet' (Voronezh), and 'Muscovya' (Russia).

On July 28, 2009 the first serial An-148 aircraft manufactured at VASO JSC has completed its maiden flight. On December 21, 2009 An-148, registration RA-61701, commenced revenue passenger services with Rossiya State Transport Company. The aircraft successfully accomplished Flight FV135 on the central timetable of Russias domestic passenger services from Pulkovo-1 in Saint Petersburg to Sheremetievo international airport in Moscow.

Russia's United Aircraft-Making Corporation (UAC) announced on July 28, 2009 plans to invest 5 billion rubles ($162 mln) in the modernization of aircraft maker VASO, which produces the new An-148 medium-haul plane. "We have a special program through which the UAC will invest 5 billion rubles in re-equipping VASO over the next five years," UAC President Alexei Fyodorov said. He said the corporation had already invested 1 billion rubles in the modernization of the plant, based in the Russian city of Voronezh. The company said earlier that five An-148 passenger aircraft would be built in 2009, 18 in 2010, 36 in 2011, and that 50 planes would be made annually from 2013 onwards.

Russian leasing company Ilyushin Finance is ready to discuss the supply of An-148 regional jets with Mongolian companies, Russian Transport Minister Igor Levitin said 21 July 2010. The company is also ready to supply modern air navigation systems to Mongolian airports, he said. Ilyushin Finance company is a subsidiary of Russia's United Aircraft Corporation.

Because of the unstable financing of the VASO and Antonov there are problems with the purchase of component parts suppliers require guarantees of payment for the order. In addition, the plants still did not come to the announced plans of the annual production of the An-148: VASO 24, Antonov 12 aircraft. In the year up to mid-2012, the Russian plant had released five An-148, and the Ukrainian company 2. The task is to prompt escalating of volumes of serial production of An-148/158 up to 30-40 aircraft a year, otherwise they will not be able to compete with world manufacturers of aircraft and aircraft equipment. In addition, at the plant Antonov there was a personnel problem: the average age of workers about 50 years.

Air Koryo, North Korea's national airline, has added to its fleet the first one of the two new Ukrainian-Russian An-148 regional jets. The first An-148-100, which was assembled at Antonov State Enterprise in cooperation with Voronezh Aircraft Production Association (VASO, Russia), was sent to North Korea in early February 2013.

Airline companies operating SSJ-100, An-140, and An-148 aircraft will be given an advantage under the program for subsidizing regional routes in Russia. This is stated in the rules for granting subsidies for regional air transport services in Russia. The Ministry of Transport prepared the rules, which are part of a package of documents outlining the new scheme for subsidizing regional air transport services, for public debate. The new subsidy model will extend to the entire territory of Russia, and it will not affect the programs for air transport from the European part of Russia to the Far East and Kaliningrad that the government previously approved. The program will also not affect flights through Moscow airports.

The Russian Defense Ministry expects to receive five Antonov An-148 passenger jets in 2016 without production delays, Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov said 09 Feburary 2016. The ministry signed a contract on the delivery of 15 An-148s with Russia's Voronezh Aircraft Plant (VASO). Some 70 percent of the plane's components are made in Russia, while remaining 30 percent are manufactured in Ukraine.

"We should receive five An-148s in 2016. Three are already standing here, while two more are entering the assembly stage," Borisov said during his visit to the VASO plant. Borisov stressed that despite a certain dependence on Ukrainian suppliers "no delays in deliveries of components or production schedule have been registered so far."

Aerospace forces of Russia in 2017 will have three short-haul aircraft An-148. This was announced on 10 Marach 2017 by Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov when visiting PJSC "Voronezh Aircraft Company" (VASO). "As for the AN-148, we have contracted 15 aircraft, five put the left in this year, we have to get three of these machines." - Borisov said. The AN-148 short-haul regional jet developed by Ukrainian company "Antonov", capable of carrying up to 85 passengers. VASO produce An-148 under license.




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