Antonov aircraft operating in Africa will be serviced at the Beja airport in southern Portugal. The relevant provision is made in a memorandum of understanding between the Antonov state aircraft manufacturing enterprise and the Portuguese company AeroNeo, the press service of Antonov announced.

According to Portuguese media reports, the AeroNeo company plans to open an aircraft maintenance center with an area of 7,500 square meters at the Beja airport in 2017. Investment in the project will total EUR million. The center is expected to initially employ 30 people, with the number of its employees later increasing to 80 people.

The memorandum also provides for cooperation in promoting Antonov commercial aircraft on markets in Europe and Asia, providing leasing services, and aircraft maintenance, including rehabilitation and modernization of aircraft. Furthermore, provision is made for the possibility of aircraft scrappage.

According to Antonov’s First Vice President Oleksandr Kotsiuba and AeroNeo’s leading partners Pierre and Dominique Verhaegen, the signing of this memorandum will allow both companies to join forces in strengthening their positions in the airline industry.

As reported, the Beja airport was built in 1964. A squadron of the Portuguese Air Force was based there until 1987. The German Air Force also used the airport for training. A passenger terminal was built there in 2011. Since then, the airport’s management has been trying unsuccessfully to persuade airlines to launch regular passenger flights.