The Antonov state enterprise (Kiev) has delivered the fourth An-158 regional airplane to the Cubana de Aviacion airline company. The ceremonial handover of the aircraft took place at an aerodrome in Gostomel, the CFTS correspondent reports.
The Antonov Serial Production Plant’s General Director Mykola Podhrebelnyi said that the airplane would depart for Cuba within a few hours. Cubana de Aviacion will receive two additional An-158 airplanes this year. According to Podhrebelnyi, the first of these will be delivered in July and the second in October.
In addition, according to Podhrebelnyi, Antonov expects to deliver an An-148 airplane in VIP configuration for the head of state to the Cubans this year. He also said that the total number of hours flown by the three airplanes currently being operated by Cubana de Aviacion exceeds 3,000 hours and that a single An-158 airplane flies an average of more than 200 hours per month.
As reported, the Cuban airline company originally placed a firm order with Antonov for production of three An-158 airplanes (which were delivered in 2012-2013) with an option for three similar airplanes. This option was converted into a firm contract during the MAKS 2013 air show in August last year.
The Kommersant Ukraine newspaper reported in November that Antonov’s general designer Dmytro Kiva had held talks with Cubana de Aviacion and that the airline company had expressed the desire to buy at least 10 more An-158 airplanes.
The An-158 airplane is a modification of the An-148 regional jet aircraft. It is designed to transport 99 passengers over a distance of 2,500 kilometers and 62 passengers over a distance of 4,200 kilometers. The maiden flight of the airplane took place at the end of April 2011. According to the developers of the airplane, the new model is cheaper to operate than the An-148 because its fuel efficiency is higher by 10-17%, depending on configuration.