Russia's S7 takes closer look at An-148

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Russia's S7 Airlines appears to be looking at the potential of the Antonov An-148 for regional operations, sent a delegation to the Voronezh-based airframer VASO which builds the twinjet.

The recent visit by S7's senior management also included representation from lessor Ilyushin Finance, says VASO.

VASO says the trip to the assembly line and technical facilities was aimed at "familiarity" with the An-148 for "possible acquisition".

S7's affiliated training centre has already installed an An-148 full-flight simulator from Russian supplier Transas.

Eight examples of the twinjet are in operation with Rossiya and Polet and five are in various stages of assembly at the VASO plant.

It says a third operator, Angara Airlines, will take delivery of its first airframe "in the near future".

But VASO acknowledges that it is trying to improve aftermarket support for the type, notably following an emergency landing on 8 July by a Polet aircraft which experienced abnormal operation of its fuel system.