Ukrainian carrier AeroSvit has acquired an Antonov An-148 regional twin-jet, one of the two initial examples built four years ago.

The airline will put the 70-seat An-148, subleased from the state-owned company Lizingtechtrans, into commercial service on domestic routes next month.

Antonov received certification for the type in 2007 but it is still not produced serially. AeroSvit had agreed to take 10 of the type following its roll-out.

The airline envisages using the An-148 for cross-border flights after settling legal and technical issues.

AeroSvit director for public relations Vladimir Gaidash says: "We badly need regional aircraft with such capacity. Our 737s could accomodate 100 to 170 passengers but don't fill up on regional routes."

Since its inception in 1994, AeroSvit has been operating an all-Boeing mainline fleet. It has three 767s and 14 leased 737s.

Gaidash says that deploying the An-148 on scheduled services may involve additional costs and financial risks and the carrier is calling for Government backing.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news