Regional Services in Yakutia
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Regional Services in Yakutia

This review is devoted to a facet of civil aviation that gets very little attention. I’m going to talk about the small, regional airlines that provide transportation to residents of far-flung villages in the cold, forested regions of northern Russia.

Antonov An-28 of Region Avia

The photos shown here were taken in summer of 2009. At the time, regional airline company Region-Avia had up to five An-28 planes based in Magan Airport, which conducted flights to small towns in the Sakha (Yakutia) Republic, such as Aldan, Verkhnevilyuysk, Olekminsk, Ust-Maya and others. Since, these routes have been taken over by other airlines, so Region-Avia is only used as a typical example of the quality and service to expect from a regional airline in this area.

Antonov An-28 of Region Avia

The An-28 can carry 17 passengers a maximum distance of 500 miles (800km). Compared to traditional airliners, the plane offers very little by way of comfort: the seats are quite basic and bare, comparable to passenger seats in a van or minibus, the soundproofing of the cabin is poor and there is no restroom (instead, and in case of emergencies only, the crew can provide you with a bucket).

Cabin of Antonov An-28 of Antonov An-28
Cabin of Antonov An-28

On the other hand, the plane’s engine is overpowered for its size, enabling it to take off from unpaved runways and in temperatures below freezing. This gives it an edge over imported aircraft operating in the Far North.

One of the planes prepares to take one of its many routes out of Yakutsk:

Antonov An-28 of Region Avia

Takeoff of an An-28 in Magan Airport:

Antonov An-28 takes off An-28 takes off
Antonov An-28 takes off An-28 takes off

Approaching the landing strip in Ust-Maya, a very small airport with an unpaved runway:

Aproaching to Ust-Maya Airport

The plane after landing in Ust-Maya. The passengers are disembarking:

Ust-Maya Airport

The airport terminal is just another building in this small village.

Ust-Maya Airport

The flight is over. In a few minutes, the plane will be boarded, and head back to Yakutsk.

Region Avia An-28 in Yakutia

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Region Avia

Antonov An-28

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