Myanmar appears to back away from An-148 deal

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Evidence has emerged that the Myanmar government is considering backing away from a deal to acquire two Russian-built Antonov An-148 aircraft.

Under the 2009 agreement, Voronezh-based airframer VASO was to hand over both An-148s, built for the Myanmar Air Force, this year but one aircraft was lost during a test flight in March.

A spokesman for VASO parent United Aircraft said it had finished the assembly of another example fitted with an English-language cabin as required by the customer but the agreed payment was not forthcoming.

"In the absence of clarity on their intentions regarding the matter, we've engaged in talks about supplying those aircraft to alternative clients," said the spokesman.

The talks underway involve both foreign and domestic airlines, he added, indicating that United Aircraft has a request for proposal covering several An-148s from Nigeria.

Russian carrier Polet, which has already received two VASO-built An-148s, is believed to be the other potential recipient of the pair of aircraft in question.

The Myanmar embassy in Moscow could not be reached for comment.