Russia's Yakutia opts for Dash 8s over An-140s

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Siberian carrier Yakutia Airlines has selected Bombardier turboprop aircraft as an alternative to its costly Russian-built Antonov An-140s.

Finance and economics director Valery Evdokimov has revealed that the airline is doing paperwork with the aim of placing an order for up to 14 Bombardier turboprops.

"Taking account of our current fleet capacity and projected needs, the plan envisages acquiring 10 [Bombardier] Q300 and four Q400 variants until 2016," he says. "We're looking to bring in two examples of each variant before the end of this year."

Evdokimov adds that four cockpit crews have already completed training ahead of the Q300 delivery, while crew training for the Q400 is underway.

Yakutia is the only Russian airline using An-140s, with two of the type in service and two kept in storage. Evdokimov says that the type performs flawlessly in harsh winter conditions and is well suited to the airline in terms of operating costs.

"But these aircraft are not yet built serially," he adds. "As a result, their catalogue price of around $20 million apiece is unacceptable for us.

"We had negotiated with [Samara-based airframer] Aviakor in the hope of reaching a compromise on pricing until 2011, when we had to abandon plans to purchase further An-140s."