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Saratov Airlines to restore An-148 operations

Saratov Airlines is to resume operations with Antonov An-148s, days after suspending flights with the type in the wake of the fatal accident in Moscow.

The Russian carrier – one of only two airlines in the country using An-148s – is to return the twinjet to its network on 16 February after completing in-depth technical checks on the fleet.

Saratov says, however, that An-148 operations will be conducted with a "reinforced" crew, which will include an instructor pilot.

An-148s have been crucial to the airline's recent network expansion. Saratov has had to introduce a restructured schedule since the suspension, which included suggesting that passengers bound for Moscow use the rail service from Kursk – a journey of more than 5h.

Saratov has five An-148s, configured with 83 seats, as well as a pair of Embraer 195s, and also has a number of Yakovlev Yak-42s.

It opted last year to modernise its fleet with two more Embraer 195s, and the airline has also shown interest in the Mitsubishi MRJ90 regional jet. Saratov officials have met with representatives of the Japanese company several times.

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