Ukraine opens door to Western-built engine for An-148

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Ukraine's government has taken note of a request from domestic carriers to choose alternative engines for the Antonov An-148 family of regional jets.

Speaking at an industry event in Kiev, deputy premier Boris Kolesnikov said Ukrainian airlines had insisted on having the option of taking An-148s fitted with Western turbofans.

He suggested that this could be possible in two years and, hopefully, will "whip up" domestic manufacturer Motor-Sich, which supplies Progress D-436 engines for the type.

Ukraine Aviation Alliance, led by flag carrier AeroSvit, has expressed willingness to take 15 An-148s while Ukraine International Airlines has also signalled its interest.

"But they request that the airframer ensures lower operating costs, technical support and aircraft purchase terms in line with those in Europe," added Kolesnikov.

Antonov chief Dmitry Kiva said there are alternatives to the D-436.

"These carriers have Western-built aircraft, first of all Boeing 737s, and find it more convenient to deal with particular [engine] suppliers," he said.

"But some are prepared to acquire An-148s equipped with the D-436 on certain conditions, providing there is a backing from the state."

Motor Sich said it has an agreement with Antonov, under which the design bureau/airframer is entitled to equip An-148s with engines other than the D-436, starting from the 51st aircraft.