I was in Beijing last week for Aviation Expo China and on my last day at the show I was lucky enough to to meet the people at Antonov.
What amazes me about Antonov is that this company builds so many different aircraft types and, unlike other aircraft-makers that take nearly 10 years to get an aircraft to market, Antonov appear to be quick to the mark.
They are already producing a 70-80 seat regional jet, the An-148, and when I was in Beijing I was lucky enough to stumble across a story about Antonov starting construction of a new 99-seat regional jet, the An-158. This larger regional jet is due to have its first flight next year.
If it had been any other aircraft-maker we would have heard about this story months ago but Antonov seem to be more focused on building aircraft, than generating hype.
But I really do feel Antonov should do more to promote themselves. The Canadians and Japanese are out there selling aircraft that are still in the very early stages of development. The Ukrainians, meanwhile, are actually building the aircraft. They just lack the customers.
There’s no reason why the An-148 and An-158 can’t be selling better. Based on the product specifications I saw in Beijing. These aircraft are technologically advanced.