Russian leasing company Ilyushin Finance (IFC) signed a firm order for 10 Antonov An-158s in late June. The $300 million contract calls for Antonov’s manufacturing branch in Kiev to build the airplanes from 2012 to 2014 for delivery primarily to Latin American airlines.
Ukraine’s Antonov has come a long way since it was last here at the Paris Air Show, but it still has a long way to go. In February, its An-158 regional jet completed initial type certification and first deliveries are pending. The smaller An-148 model has been in service for some time with launch customers Aerosvit (three aircraft) and Rossiya (six).
Antonov handed over a second example of the An-140 turboprop to its daughter company, Antonov Airlines, early last month. Engineers removed test equipment and installed 48 seats for passenger charter use.
The dramatic victory of Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko and his self-styled Orange Revolution in December last year has brought numerous changes to the government of this former Soviet republic–many geared toward ultimate integration into the European Union (EU).