Russian Firm to Build Aircraft-Maintenance Center in Bolivia

LA PAZ – Russia-based Ilyushin Finance Co. has chosen Bolivia as the location for a South American maintenance hub to service Antonov-148 twin-engine regional jets, the official ABI news agency said here Tuesday.

The project will create 120 high-skilled positions, ABI said, citing a press release from Ilyushin, an aircraft-leasing firm.

Ilyushin says it expects to lease more than 60 AN-148s to Latin American carriers over the next decade, given that the region’s passenger air fleet has an average age of 12-13 years.

“For its safety, low (fuel) consumption, low maintenance costs and ability to operate at any airfield, the AN-148 aircraft … is the best choice,” an IFC spokesman said. “The interchangeability of parts and spares in the region will give our clients the opportunity to operate with confidence and without delays.”

Built in Ukraine and Russia, the AN-148 is used as both a commercial airliner and as an executive jet.

As an airliner, the AN-148 can carry from 70-90 passengers plus cargo and has a range of 4,500 kilometers (2,796 miles).

Moscow recently extended a $100 million credit to finance Bolivian purchases of Russian-made armament and materiel as La Paz upgrades its armed forces.

Bolivian President Evo Morales said last Saturday that he plans to use part of the credit to purchase a Russian aircraft for presidential use. EFE

Source: Latin American Herlad Tribune

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