Saratov Airlines to lease ex-Rossiya An-148 jets

rossiya-an-148-01 Saratov Airlines subleases four aircraft from their previous operator, Rossiya, through Ilyushin Finance Company (Photo by Fyodor Borisov // transport-photo.com)

A Russian lessor, Ilyushin Finance Company, has found a new customer for the Antonov An-148-100B regional jets previously flown by Rossiya Airlines. Four such aircraft will now be subleased to Russian regional carrier Saratov Airlines.

The first two jets will be delivered to their new operator in October, and the remaining two, in November, IFC’s spokesman told Russian Aviation Insider. Prior to delivery, the aircraft will be repainted into new livery.

Based in Saratov, a city of 800 thousand in the southeast of Russia’s European part, Saratov Airlines specializes in regional services as well as charter transportation of rotational workers for extractive industry. The An-148s will partially replace the morally obsolete Soviet-built Yar-42s on routes to St. Petersburg from Saratov and Volgograd. The carrier has now seven Yak-42D in 120- and 100-seat configuration in its fleet and also operates a pair of Embraer E195s.

Rossiya Airlines (part of Aeroflot Group) signed a leasing contract for antotal of six An-148s with the IFC in 2009. They initially had a two-class layout in 68 seats, but were lately re-configured into an all-economy, 75 passenger-capacity variant. Rossiya stopped operating the type in spring 2015, claiming they were “commercially unviable” but continued with its leasing payments.

The other commercial operator of the type in Russia is now Irkutsk-based Angara, which has five An-148s in its fleet.

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