Russian state airline GTK Rossiya, the only current user of the Antonov An-148 regional airliner, has criticised the aircraft's reliability as unacceptable and listed a string of problems including door locks, engine and APU failures.

The reliability of the An-148 cannot guarantee a sufficient level of in-flight safety, Rossiya said in a Moscow presentation on the programme.

The airline has been using the aircraft since June. In the three months to September, including aircrew training flights, the company's five An-148 aircraft flew 1,725h with Rossiya. In that time, 235 problems occurred, requiring over 2,000 man-hours of repair work.

In one 92-day period, one aircraft was unfit to fly for 89 days, Rossiya says.

Rossiya says incidence of technical failure in its fleet occurred once every 344h in the An-148, every 5,355h in its Airbuses, and 2,824h in its Boeing 737s.

Antonov An-148
 © Antonov

The airline listed five incidents in three months with the An-148's undercarriage, electrical supply system and its flight control system, which has caused particular problems with 31 failures in the three-month period.

Rossiya claims that remedial work to fix the aircraft did not improve reliability. In the three-month period, the aircraft had removed one Ivchenko-Progress D-436-148 turbofan and two AI-450 APUs. The airline says the aircraft requires 3.8 times more man-hours of Class A maintenance than its 50 hour specified amount.

Ilyushin Finance, which markets the aircraft, says the issues with the aircraft are normal problems for a new design: "In the process of use, these teething problems will be wrinkled out, but this takes a little time and we would hope that the manufacturer will promptly work out these issues as they arise, as there is a big demand for this aircraft."

Rossiya has called for establishment of a working after-sales care service for the aircraft by Antonov's parent, Russia's United Aircraft Corporation.

The airline's complaints come just days after another client for the aircraft, Atlant-Soyuz, said it was considering buying the Sukhoi Superjet instead of the An-148s it has on order.

UAC said on September 24 it will invest an additional $232 million in development and production of the An-148 at its Irkut subsidiary.

Last month, it was decided that Irkut would take over management of the An-148 programme from Ilyushin Finance.

Source: Flight International