A new, improved version of Antonov's An-140 twin turboprop is being put through its paces here at the show.
The An-140-100 is the sixth aircraft to be built and the first -100 variant. It entered service with Ukrainian carrier Ilyich-Avia in April. The airline will take delivery of its second in August.
A variety of technical difficulties with the original five An-140s delivered to four Ukrainian airlines has caused its builder, the Kharkov State Aircraft Manufacturing Company (KSAMC), to make more than 2,000 design and component changes, says its general director Pavel Naumenko.
In addition, the -100 has had its wingspan increased by 1m (3ft) and it has redesigned engine nacelles. This has boosted range by 300km to 4,200km (2,200nm), operational ceiling to 7,200m and speed from 500km/h to 530km/h (280kt). The list price of the new An-140 version is $8.5 million, the same as the initial model.
The 52-seat An-140-100 is now the standard production configuration for the aircraft. This year KSAMC will build a total of six An-140s. In addition to the five original An-140 orders, plus two from IIyich-Avia, KSAMC has four An-140-100 orders from Azerbaijan flag carrier AZAL and one from a corporate operator in Ukraine.
AZAL will take delivery of its first -100s by year-end, with the others following in 2005.
The Sudanese government has signed an agreement, which has yet to be finalised with KSAMC, to take delivery of eight -100s over the next two years, says Naumenko.
After a successful 10-day flight test programme in Kazakhstan in June, KSAMC has won an order from Alliance Leasing for one aircraft. This will be delivered next year. The Kazakh leasing firm has also signed 18 letters of intent for the aircraft.
A top priority for Naumenko is to ramp up the other An-140 production lines in Russian and Iran. The Iranian-built aircraft, designated the IrAn-140, is produced by Isfahan-based HESA Manufacturing. It has assembled two aircraft from kits supplied by KSAMC. These have been delivered to Iranian regional carrier Safiran Airlines. The aim is to build not less than four IrAn-140s per year, he says.
There are five An-140s in different stages of assembly at Russia's Samara-based Aviacor plant. The first is due to fly in September. There are two orders for the Russian An-140 from Samara Airlines.