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Polar Airlines plans to take L-610 turboprops

Siberian carrier Polar Airlines has agreed to acquire L-610 twin turboprops which would be produced by the Ural-based domestic manufacturer UZGA.

Polar Airlines has recently reached a deal to acquire Ilyushin Il-114-300s but it is also intending to take 10 L-610s.

The L-610s would be delivered over the course of 2023-25, the airline states.

While the L-610 was developed as a prototype in the late 1990s, Polar Airlines says its agreement would involve taking a "significantly" different version jointly upgraded by Russian and Czech firms.

This version would have a higher maximum take-off weight and speed, as well as improved cargo capacity and longer range.

Serial production would start in 2023.

Polar Airlines says the 40-seat L-610 is designed to be a "fully-fledged" replacement for the Antonov An-24, a number of which are providing passenger transport in the Sakha republic.

The smaller L-410, a 19-seat airframe, is already in service with Polar Airlines.

"Acquisition of the L-610 to replace the An-24 and An-26 is one of the priority projects for our airline," says general director Semen Vinokurov.

He says the carrier is co-operating with UZGA on a technical project enabling the L-610 to operate from unpaved runways and in low temperatures.

UZGA head Vadim Badekha views the L-610 as an option to meet regional air transport needs in remote parts of Russia, particularly those in the "harsh" Arctic area, adding that it will be just as capable as the An-24.

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