The Russian defense ministry has extended its commitment to the Antonov An-140 twin turboprop to a total of 11 units, following acceptance of two such aircraft earlier this year. In the meantime, Russia and Ukraine are negotiating on setting up a final assembly line of the An-72 light tactical twinjet at the MoD’s 308th Aircraft Repair Plant in Ivanovo, which has been long doing repair and maintenance on the type. Formal government-level agreement on the matter is expected later this year.
Antonov plans to fly the first An-148 regional jet this month, marking the culmination of three years of preparation and the dawn of a new era in Ukrainian civil aviation.
The governments of Russia and Ukraine have so far managed to prevent Western manufacturers from penetrating their countries’ markets for regional aircraft in the hope that local producers could develop competitive products. But officials have warned that prohibitive import taxes will not hold forever, particularly as Russia pushes ever harder for accession into the World Trade Organization.
Ukraine’s Antonov has signed a memorandum of understanding with Xi’an Aircraft Company (XAC) to help develop a new 70-seat turboprop dubbed the MA700, according to Chinese state-run media. The parties plan to discuss details on the cooperation during the upcoming Beijing International Aviation Exhibition, scheduled for September 19 to 22.
After several delays, Siberian regional airline UTAir finally expects to begin flying passengers aboard a pair of Avions de Transport Regional ATR 42-300s this month, marking the first use of Western-built turboprops in scheduled airline service in Russia.