KHANTY-MANSYSK, RUSSIA — The Russian airline operator UTair plans to purchase and restore 20 mothballed Yak-40 and YAK-42 jets to operate on its regional routes. According to the local sources, the company has already signed an agreement with one of the Russian lessors for two aircraft.

The planes are intended to fill the gap in the airline's growing regional network until the Sukhoi Superjets on UTair's order book are delivered.

The airline is interested in the Yak-42D variant of the type since the aircraft is suitable for long-haul flights thanks to its enhanced fuel tanks.

UTair operated Yak-40s from 1992 to 2012 and Yak 42s from 2016 to 2013.

The Soviet-era Yak Family jetliners are built by Yakovlev. Yak-40 made its first flight in 1966 and entered into service with Ukraine-based regional carrier Motor Sich Airlines, Oblast, Russia-based Vologda Aviation Enterprise, and Aeroflot, respectively. The production of the aircraft ended in 1981.

Yakovlev Yak-40

Yak-42 made its first flight in 1975. Izhavia, Jet Express Airlines, Kosmos Airlines, KrasAvia, and RusJet were the operators of the aircraft. The production of the type ended in 2003.

Yakovlev Yak-42D

UTair's current fleet comprises 48 Boeing jets and 15 ATR turboprops. The airline also has 30 737 MAX 8 aircraft on order with Boeing. But sanctions imposed on Russia's aviation industry force Russian carriers to find different solution to continue their operations.