Siberian operator Angara Airlines has placed a firm order for three Russian-built Antonov An-148 regional twinjets.
Under the deal with airframer VASO and lessor Ilyushin Finance, the carrier is to receive the aircraft in a baseline 75-seat configuration this year.
According to Angara general manager Anatoly Yurtaev, it also holds an option for a further seven An-148s for delivery in 2013-14.
He says: "We'll use them initially on domestic routes from Irkutsk to Novosibirsk, Yakutsk, Khabarovsk and Blagoveshchensk as well as on services to the airports with short unpaved runways."
The agreement with VASO provides for a three-year warranty. "We'll also cover losses from the aircraft-on-ground situations due to delays in parts supply," says director Vitaly Zubarev.
VASO has seven An-148s scheduled for delivery in 2012. Apart from the three aircraft slated for Angara, these include two ordered by Russia's presidential administration and two by the emergency situations ministry.