Russian assembly of Antonov aircraft may stop

The worsening of relations between Russia and Ukraine is threatening joint aircraft production programs. Alexei Gusev, CEO of the Samara-based Aviacor aircraft plant, announced in late July that the enterprise would suspend the assembly of Antonov An-140 regional turboprops owing to the fact that 34 Ukrainian companies had stopped supplying components for the program. Gusev added that production of the lacking components could not be launched in Russia in the near future, seeing as the aircraft designer is based in Ukraine. Theoretically, amendments introduced to the Russian Air Laws and Regulations in July this year allow Russian enterprises to modify Antonov aircraft without the developer’s approval, but in reality this complex process would take plenty of time. In the meantime, Aviacor will assemble several airframes using its remaining stock of components, including three An-140s for the Russian Defense Ministry.

The fate of the program to build An-148 regional turbojets at the Voronezh-based VASO factory is also uncertain. In February 2015, the enterprise announced its plans to deliver six of the type, all of them to Russian security agencies. Production holdups are affecting demand for the airliner. Rossiya Airlines, the largest operator of the type which had greatly contributed to the launch of An-148 commercial operations in 2009-2010, withdrew six airplanes from regular service in April 2015. Rossiya had used An-148 on about 50 of its regular domestic and international routes. Over the five years of operation, the maximum month­ly flying time per Rossiya An-148 reached 400 hours, with 315 hours on average.

The An-148 can be operated in extreme weather conditions in Russia’s northern and eastern regions. If production stops, the availability of air transport services in these territories may worsen.

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