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An-158 gearing up for new orders

hjt36-al55iThe Interstate Aviation Committee (IAC) of the CIS has completed the certification of the modified Antonov An-158 regional airliner by having issued Supplement to Type Certificate ST264-An-148 that had been issued for the An-148-100 on 26 February 2007. IAC Chairwoman Tatyana Anodina handed the document to Antonov President and Designer General Dmitry Kiva in a ceremony in Kiev on 28 February 2011. At the same time, Ukrainian deputy Transport and Communication Minister Anatoly Kolesnik gave Antonov’s boss a similar certificate issued by the Ukrainian State Aviation Administration.

The An-158 is a 1.74-m-stretched version of the An-148-100 in production by the aircraft plants in Voronezh and Kiev. In the single-class configuration, it carries 99 passengers out to 2,500 km, while the two-class configuration version seats 86 passengers on services out to 3,100 km (compare that to the An-148-100B that flies economy-class 75 passengers to a distance of 3,500 km).

The An-158 prototype (UR-NTN) derived from An-148-100 c/n 01-02 first flew in Kiev on 28 April 2010. The An-158 logged 79 test sorties with their total duration of 147 flying hours under the certification test programme that included high-alpha, Category III landing and takeoff/landing performance tests, external and internal noise measurements, stability and controllability tests, emergency passenger disembarkation, etc. In addition to the flight test programme, a sizeable part of the certification efforts was made as part of ground tests, which included the use of the Engineering Flight Test Bench.

Antonov production plant in Kiev will handle the manufacturing of the An-158, with a considerable part of the components to be supplied by Russia’s VASO Voronezh Aircraft Production Association.

Russian leasing company Ilyushin Finance Co. (IFC) became the An-158’s launch customer in July last year, having awarded Antonov 10 firm orders with 10 options. IFC has declined to name the end user of the An-158s the company has ordered yet. Last autumn, Antonov’s head, Dmitry Kiva, said that Russia had ordered 20 An-158s, and there were 87 options, including 12 for Russia, five for Ukraine, six for Cuba and 64 for Iran. Actually, Iran could become a major customer for the Ukrainian An-148 and An-158 regional jets. A memorandum to that effect was signed with the Iranians as far back as 31 October 2008. It provides for delivery of up to 80 aircraft, with 60 may be licence-produced by Iranian company HESA in Isfahan. The afore-said number may include 16 standard An-148-100s and 64 An-158 stretches.

However, only Ilyushin Finance Co. has made firm orders for the An-158 so far, the company that has made the decisive contribution to the launch of the An-148’s production in Russia and that is the launch customer for the plane of VASO’s assembly. Despite its plans to diversify its business (IFC plans to start leasing foreign-made aircraft), the company remains committed to pursuing its programme of acquisition of the An-148 and An-158 to lease them to Russian carriers and for export.


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