Saratov Airlines expands An-148 fleet to five aircraft

Saratov Airlines also operates Yak-42 and Embraer E195s This airliner, RA-61701, made its first revenue flight for the carrier on July 5 (Saratov Airlines)

Russian carrier Saratov Airlines has expanded its fleet of Russian-made Antonov An-148-100B regional jets to five. The latest addition, RA-61701, has recently entered commercial service. It made its first revenue flight on July 5, from Saratov to St. Petersburg.

The airline received the aircraft in March this year, but initially was planning to use it as a parts donor for its other airliners. The airliner subsequently underwent upgrades at Voronezh Aircraft Production Association and was painted in the Saratov Airlines livery.

Saratov Airlines has a total of five An-1148s

The airliner, RA-61701, sports the carrier’s livery

The carrier has been operating An-148s since December 2016. All five aircraft are subleased from the original operator, Rossiya Airlines, which received them from Ilyushin Finance Co. Rossiya stopped operating the type in 2015, citing its economic inefficiency. The airline had a total of six An-148s.

The new operator is largely satisfied with the aircraft, which replace its obsolete Yakovlev Yak-42Ds. It is, however, for the summer season to show whether the choice was right. Saratov Airlines General Director Alexey Vakhromeyev says it will only be possible to estimate the type’s operational economy one year into services.

The airline also has five Yak-42Ds and two Embraer E195s in its fleet.

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