VASO takes back Rossiya An-148 to refine performance

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Russia's first serial production Antonov An-148 is to be transferred back to airframer VASO in Voronezh to undergo modification in a bid to improve the type's performance.

The aircraft, registered RA-61701, is one of four in service with Rossiya. It is being flown back to VASO today where, the airframer says, it will spend six weeks to two months being refined.

VASO deputy technical director Igor Abramov says the modifications will take into account feedback received over the first few months of operation of the type.

Any performance improvements will, he adds, be incorporated into assembly of subsequent An-148s. Abramov says this will have a "positive effect on the attractiveness of the aircraft" to airlines.

Rossiya had criticised aspects of the An-148's performance at a conference in May during which it detailed its experience with the type.

While VASO has not given much indication of the modifications to be carried out, it says that they could include a more comfortable interior and improvements to the heating system allowing the type to operate under more extreme conditions in the north of Russia.

The airframer says that taking the aircraft back to Voronezh was a simpler option than sending teams of engineers to Rossiya's St Petersburg base to conduct structural and technological improvements.

Rossiya, which is taking its An-148 fleet through Ilyushin Finance, is due to receive a fifth of the type before the end of August.