Prime Minister of Ukraine Mykola Azarov has visited on Thursday the aircraft engineering enterprise Antonov and participated in the ceremony of transferring to the Republic of Cuba the first production aircraft An-158, Ukrinform reports.

"I am very pleased that we are launching serial production of An-158. This means that the aircraft industry in Ukraine revived. I am confident that we will reach mass production of this wonderful aircraft," the press-service of the Cabinet of Ministers quoted Azarov as saying.

The prime minister also noted that just few countries in the world can produce their own aircraft.
"We have finally stepped on solid ground. Despite the global crisis and economic difficulties, Ukraine has taken the path of sustainable development, and I congratulate you on this occasion. This aircraft is the first step on this difficult path, but I am convinced that the plant has a great perspective," the head of government said.

Participating in the ceremony were also Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Cuba in Ukraine Ernesto Antonio Senti Darias, General Designer of SE Antonov Dmytro Kiva, and General Director of Ilyushin Finance Co. Alexander Rubtsov.

The contract between SE Antonov and OJSC Ilyushin Finance Co. (Russia) for the supply of 10 production aircraft An-158 to the Republic of Cuba was signed in 2010. The second and third aircraft will be delivered to the customer in June and July this year. The next three will be manufactured before the end of 2013. Four more aircraft must be produced and supplied in 2014.
An-158 is the only passenger plane that can land on ground and low runways and take off from them. Batch manufacture of the aircraft proceeds at the production plant Antonov. The corporation for the production of An-158 involves more than 200 companies from 15 countries.

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