Ukraine’s state-owned airframer Antonov has issued airworthiness directives (AD) for the An-158 regional jet enabling Cubana de Aviacion to continue operating its six of the type. Cubana, which is the world’s only An-158 operator, will now be able to keep the fleet flying until a total of 3,600 cycles per airframe has been reached, or for approximately another six months, reads the OEM’s press release.
Antonov says it will perform the necessary upgrades on Cubana’s An-158s as part of the contract. The manufacturer will also set up a parts pool for the type, and will arrange component deliveries via international logistics providers in order for the carrier to resume An-158 operations and avoid prolonged AOG situations in the future.
Antonov and Cubana are sketching a full fleet support deal to cover all of the airline’s An-158s with after-sales support. The preliminary agreement was reached in the course of talks on April 24 and 25.
The An-158 is a 99-seat modification of the 75-seat An-148. Final assembly of the type was performed at Antonov’s Kyiv facility. The aircraft has a range of 2,500 km and an airspeed of up to 870 km/h. It is certified to operate from unpaved runways in remote areas.
In 2013, Russian lessor Ilyushin Finance Co. (IFC) and South American Aircraft Leasing (SAAL) of Panama, which finances aircraft procurement deals for Cubana, signed an agreement on six An-158s for the Cuban flag carrier. The last of the batch was delivered to the operator in June 2015.
Cuban newspaper Ahora cites Cubana Commercial Director Yoanka Acosta as saying that delayed part deliveries caused by the conflict between Russia and Ukraine have resulted in postponements and cancellations of the carrier’s flights performed by its An-158s. Of the airline’s 116 scheduled flights to the resort destination of Holguin planned for the past several months, 38 had to be canceled and a further 36 were delayed for technical reasons.
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