The AN-148-100, which had been idle for five years, flew from Saratov to Voronezh to continue the restoration.
The AN-148-100B aircraft No. RA-61702, owned by OJSC “Ilyushin Finance Co.” (IFC), flew from the inactive Saratov airport to the territory of the VASO aircraft factory in Voronezh.
IFC considers the restoration of an aircraft as an increase in its competence to operate on the secondary market of civil aircraft.
Since 2015, this aircraft has been in the territory of Saratov airport in a state of non-flying condition and was used by Saravia Airline as a donor of spare parts for five other AN-148-100V aircraft. After the shutdown of the Saravia Airline, the aircraft was actually abandoned at an inactive airport.
After the change of the IFC leadership in mid-2019, a decision was made to restore the airworthiness of the aircraft. VASO technical specialists carried out all the necessary work in March 2020 and prepared the aircraft for the stage, but the pandemic, and the VASO runway, which was under overhaul, did not allow the flight to be carried out.
After the opening of a runway of Voronezh aircraft Factory VASO at the airfield "Pridacha" of Voronezh airport, the IFC, with the assistance of the Federal Air Transport Agency, received a one-time permission to take off the aircraft from the inactive Saratov airport. For the flight, work was organized with the developers and manufacturers of the aircraft and engines, with dispatchers, weather service, firefighters, the aircraft was processed, refueled, the runway was prepared for departure. On November 26, 2020, the AN-148 was lifted into the sky by the flight personnel of the Ministry of Emergency Situations of Russia and made a successful landing at the VASO factory airfield.
Expressing gratitude to everyone who contributed to the implementation of the flight, IFC CEO Sergey Turkin commented: "Airplanes are extremely expensive and, with proper operation, a long-lasting asset. We, as lessors, see a significant potential in the return to commercial circulation of aircraft that have undeservedly retired from it. Before this flight, a lot of preparatory work was done on the plane, its technical condition was highly appreciated by the pilots of the Ministry of Emergency Situations who performed the flight, the restoration will continue on VASO. All this allows us to count on the fact that the aircraft will definitely find a new operator."