Wednesday, April 5, 2017

New Antonov Freight Aircraft Takes to the Skies

Long Tradition of STOL Aircraft Continues On
Shipping News Feature
UKRAINE – SAUDI ARABIA – Aircraft manufacturer Antonov has demonstrated their new multipurpose aircraft, the AN-132D, as the aircraft took to the skies for its maiden flight on Friday 31 March 2017, from the company’s airfield in Kyiv, Ukraine.

The prototype of the new aircraft flew for 1 hour and 50 minutes and amongst the crew was Test Pilot General Mohammed Ayash of the Taqnia Aeronautics Company, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The AN-132 programme is being developed following a contract from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) in close cooperation with King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) and the Тaqnia Aeronautics Company. Reports state that the KSA has ordered six aircraft already and intends to build the aircraft in the Kingdom.

Piotr Poroshenko, the President of Ukraine, visited the AN-132D and the aircraft creators at the company's flight test base and thanked the participants of the programme. He said:

"I am proud of my compatriots, thousands of employees of Antonov Company and other Ukrainian enterprises, who have and continue to work to launch the series production of this aircraft.”

Oleksandr Kotsiuba, President of Antonov, congratulated colleagues and partners alike on the successful completion of this stage of the programme’s development, commenting:

"The next important step will be the presentation of the AN-132D in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which will be conducted after the completion of more aircraft tests."

The AN-132D multipurpose turboprop aircraft is intended for operation on short and medium-haul routes and is a major upgrade on the previous An-32, which has long been a staple freight haulier in the developing world because of its rugged construction and ability to run in the most primitive condition. The new aircraft will be able to perform a variety of tasks, such as the transportation of raw materials, mail and other cargo, including bulk freight and even vehicles weighing up to 9.2 tonnes.