Fontjäna, FO: This morning SAI Aeiro OV received full type certification for the new 240-series family of small airliners from the ANACA. The three models, based around the same profile and developed concurrently, mark the Karolian company’s first entry into the full-size airliner market in the 70-120 seat category. The models have a range of up to 3300nm with standard loading and are being marketed as flexible ‘full-size’ jets, allowing them to compete on short-medium routes as well as the regional lines SAI already enjoys a significant market share of.
The three models available are designated the 240 (up to 75 seats), 340 (up to 115 seats) and 440 (up to 130 seats) with the latter two stretched versions of the basic airframe with minor modifications to the wings and tail. The main differences with the existing SAI lineup are the 3+2 seating arrangement in standard class and the placement of the engines under the wings for the first time. The engines themselves have been developed by SAI Thrust and claim up to 25% reduced fuel burn compared with types of aircraft the 240 is expected to replace. Later in the program, buyers will be offered further engine options. Pilots can obtain a common type rating for all the variants, which share an identical cockpit layout and the latest electronic display systems including options for a ‘head-up’ display and ‘virtual ILS’ software.
Main launch customers Air Karolia and FreedemiAir will take delivery of the first production run in March next year after minor modifications have been completed to the assembly lines. Air Karolia expects to replace its entire Watanabe W34 fleet, which will likely be cascaded to its low-cost subsidiary KAwings, with the new types, whilst FreedemiAir will replace its 210 and 410 fleets. Other orders have been placed by Archanta Southern, AeroSur, MAV, Majos Air, Whizzy, Sky Airlines, and Ulethan Regional, totalling 63 airframes. SAI will cease production of its older 210 design dating from the 1990s, which is superseded by the 240.
Journalists were today invited to view the prototypes at the company’s factory in Fontjäna and watch a demonstration flight. Karolian Minister for Business Pavel Otäru gave a statement, saying ‘This is an important day for the Karolian aviation industry and Karolian business The new family of jets will expand the company’s market share and safeguard jobs in the aviation sector and beyond, whilst helping to further reduce emissions from air travel and ensuring the continued reputation of SAI as a world-class industrial manufacturer’.