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Angara having as many as five An-148s

Angara_An-148The Irkutsk-based Angara airline, a key carrier in Eastern Siberia, received its fifth An-148-100E (RA-61710, c/n 41-06) regional jet airliner on 29 December 2014. The aircraft became the second An-148 that the company got under the 12-year financial leasing agreement it and the Sberbank Leasing Nord signed in summer 2014 and the fifth aircraft of the type operated by Angara. As is known, the first three new An-148-100Es (RA-61711, RA-61731, RA-61714) were delivered to the Irkutsk-based air carrier by the Ilyushin Finance Co. leasing company in late 2012. The current two An-148-100Es built by the VASO plant in Voronezh in 2011 had been operated by the Polyot airline before April of last year, after which were returned to their owner due to the carrier's difficult circumstances and piling debt for its leasing payments. They were ferried to the Voronezh-based manufacturer for storage and subsequent modification to the requirements of a future customer. The first of them, RA-61709 (see the picture), joined Angara’s aircraft fleet last October.

All of the planes have the 75-seat single-class layout, which, according to Angara Deputy Director Konstantin Nesterenko, is optimal to the carrier. Take-off has been told by an Angara source that the monthly flying time logged by An-148s in 2014 averaged 140 h, with the seat occupancy ratio standing at about 70%.

"Our company is mulling over the feasibility of increasing its aircraft fleet further down the line and development of services for passengers on regional lines, since the regional market remains peculiar but asked for, and the provinces need a dependable air carrier as a partner", Konstantin Nesterenko told Take-off. "Plans provide for penetrating the markets in the central and southern parts of Russia. In addition, in 2014, the Angara airline was cleared for international services and has launched charter operations abroad".

Angara is a participant in governmental programmes on backing the regional passenger traffic. The company's route network linked by means of Siberian hubs enables passengers to get to their destination bypassing Moscow, which they often could not do before. To increase its efficiency, the carrier is taking measures to woo transfer passengers and work out a convenient schedule. At present, Angara is gearing up for certification for compliance with international safety standards. As of now, its aircraft fleet comprises five An-148s, seven An-24s, two An-26s and ten Mi-8 helicopters as well.

(Photo: Andrey Tchursin)

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