For nearly 10 years in service, the SSJ100 regional jet has been a major headache for the Russian government. Proposed as a competitor to the global commercial aircraft market, Sukhoi’s jetliner disappointed thanks to inefficient after-sales and reliability issues.
Although it won some orders in the West, the SuperJet has its fleet concentrated in Russia and countries under its influence. To make its production feasible, the government purchased most of the 200 aircraft already delivered and then passed them on through leasing to airlines such as Aeroflot.
Despite this, Vladimir Putin’s government continues to bet on the project. During the International Defense Exhibition and Conference (IDEX), which takes place this week in Abu Dhabi, Russian Minister of Trade and Industry, Denis Manturov, revealed to the press that the SSJ100 will have a corporate version in the second half of this year.
“This year we have the new SSJ-VIP version, with sharklets, additional tanks and other differentials. A demonstration plane will appear in the second half. I think there will be a sufficient number of people interested in this version, because the cost-benefit is very competitive,” Manturov told RIA Novosti.
Sukhoi has already tested a wing extension solution to reduce fuel consumption. Named ‘saberlets’, the modification was introduced in 2019 in the form of kits manufactured by Voronezh aircraft manufacturer (VASO).
Negotiation with Kazakhstan
Manturov also revealed in the same interview that UAC (United Aircraft Corporation) does not plan to aggressively enter the global commercial aircraft market, but that it is already working to offer the SSJ100 and MC-21 models to the Eurasian Economic Community (Belarus, Kazakhstan , Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan).
According to the minister, “at the moment, we are negotiating with Kazakhstan on this issue, including MC-21 and SSJ-100”, but he acknowledged that it is too early to talk about figures.