Only five aircraft of this new type are currently operated commercially - all of them by Cubana de Aviacion.
Cubana de Aviación S.A., commonly known as Cubana, is a national airline based in Cuba, as well as the country's largest airline. It was founded in October 1929, becoming one of the earliest airlines to emerge in Latin America. It has its corporate headquarters in Havana, and its main base is located at José Martí International Airport. Originally a subsidiary of Pan American World Airways and later a private company owned by Cuban investors, Cubana has been wholly owned by the Cuban government since May 1959 and celebrated its 80th anniversary in 2009.
Cubana was a founder and is a current member of the International Air Transport Association, the International Association of Aeronautical Telecommunications (SITA) and the International Association of Latin American Air Transportation (AITAL).
The airline was established on 8 October 1929 as Compañía Nacional Cubana de Aviación Curtiss S.A., initially as a flying school as well as a charter carrier, beginning scheduled services in 1930. The airline's name indicated its association with the Curtiss aircraft manufacturing company. Cubana's early fleet used Curtiss Robin, amphibian Sikorsky S-38, Ford Trimotor, and Lockheed Electra (L-10) aircraft. Pan American acquired Cubana in 1932, and the word Curtiss was deleted from the carrier's name. By the end of the decade, the carrier had a fleet of four Ford Trimotors and three Lockheed Electras that operated on the domestic Havana–Camaguey, Havana–Guantanamo–Baracoa and Santiago–Baracoa routes.
In the early 1990s, Cubana pursued a multi-faceted strategy to face the challenges posed by the end of the Socialist bloc and the dissolution of the Soviet Union. This strategy targeted a restructuring of Cubana's fleet, the revamping of the airline's technical capabilities, and upgrading the quality of passenger services. After the early 1990s, spare parts for Cubana's Soviet-built aircraft became increasingly harder to source. Limited financial resources and lack of Western financing to replace these aircraft, coupled with restrictions imposed by the U.S. embargo on the sale of American-built aircraft and components (including engines and avionics), made it necessary to keep some of the airline's Soviet-built airplanes in service. Cubana had received its last three new Il-62Ms in late 1990 and early 1991 [along with two other (also new) similar aircraft in 1988 and 1989], and was able to keep them in service long after the USSR's dissolution and the end of all Il-62 production in the mid-1990s. Cubana started leasing some Western aircraft (Airbus, Boeing) for limited periods of time in the mid-1990s, to help sustain its services to Europe, Canada and some Latin American destinations, given the rapid growth of Cuba's tourism sector.
In the early 2000s (decade) Cubana refurbished several of its Il-62Ms to use on some of its international routes (all but one of these aircraft were removed from service in 2011), and in 2004 it embarked on a long-term renovation programme. The strategy is based on the purchase of $100 million a year in new generation Russian-built aircraft until 2012. In 2012 Cubana has completely renovated its fleet with new-generation Russian airliners. As part of its renovation strategy, Cubana has sought to upgrade its technical support capabilities. The airline established a joint venture company with Iberia Airlines of Spain in 2005, to maintain and overhaul Western-built aircraft, such as Airbus and Boeing.
The Antonov An-148 (Ukrainian: Антонов Ан-148) is a regional jet airliner designed by the Ukrainian Antonov company and produced by Antonov itself and also on outsource by Russia's Voronezh Aircraft Production Association. Development of the aircraft was started in the 1990s, and the maiden flight took place on 17 December 2004. The aircraft completed its certification programme on 26 February 2007. The An-148 has a maximum range of 2,100–4,400 km (1,100–2,400 nmi; 1,300–2,700 mi) and is able to carry 68–85 passengers, depending on the configuration.
The Antonov An-158 is a stretched fuselage version of the aircraft, accommodating up to 99 passengers. Other changes include the installation of wingtip fences. The airplane successfully completed its first flight on 28 April 2010, with flight certification tests planned to be completed before the end of 2010; on 3 March 2011, it was given Russian certification. Nowadays, after flight and land test in night lands airports of Ecuador (Latacunga / Cotopaxi International Airport, 2806 m AMSL) and Bolivia (La Paz / El Alto International Airport, 4061 m AMSL) in November 2013 prepare documentation for obtaining correspondent supplements to the type certificate of this airplane.