Siberian operator Polar Airlines has provisionally signed to acquire three Ilyushin Il-114-300 turboprops, for delivery starting in 2023.

Production of the Il-114 is being restarted following development of the -300, a modernised version of the regional aircraft.

Polar Airlines disclosed the preliminary deal during the MAKS Moscow air show.

It says that certification of the twin-turboprop is scheduled for 2023.

General director Semen Vinokurov says the carrier is prepared to serve as the launch operator of the Il-114-300. The airline has proposed a 52-seat version, rather than the standard 68-seat layout, with a larger baggage compartment.

This is intended to address "climatic conditions and restrictions" in the region. The aircraft will also need to operate from unpaved runways.

Vikokurov says delivery of the type in the scheduled timeframe is "very important", adding: "With the introduction of the aircraft we expect the efficiency of flights to improve."

The Il-114-300 will replace foreign-built types as well as the "obsolete" Antonov An-24 and An-26, says the Yakutsk-based carrier.

Polar Airlines operates Let Aircraft Industries L-410s as well as 15 of the Antonov turboprops. The carrier has previously discussed development of regional maintenance and training centres for the Il-114.

Regional governing authorities for the Sakha republic are supporting the fleet upgrade.

"Stable inter-regional communication in the extreme climatic conditions of the Arctic, the far north and the regions of the far east is extremely important for the population, as aviation is often the only available year-round mode of transport," says Sakha republic first deputy prime minister Andrei Fedotov.

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