Superjet International Opens U.S. Office

 - February 19, 2009, 9:52 AM

Superjet International today announced the official opening of its new North American sales and customer support office in Washington, D.C. Former ATR North America executive John Buckley has joined Superjet International to run the new office. Buckley assumes the title of vice president for business development, while Patrick Sullivan takes the role of head of customer service for the Americas. Sullivan’s unit will also assist Sukhoi Civil Aircraft’s FAA certification effort.

The opening of the new office underscores Sukhoi’s intention to compete seriously for the North American regional jet market with Bombardier, Embraer and possibly Mitsubishi. A joint venture between Italy’s Alenia (51 percent) and Sukhoi Holding (49 percent), Superjet International carries responsibility for aftermarket support for the Sukhoi Superjet 100, along with marketing, sales, completions and delivery of the airplane in Europe, the Americas, Oceana, Africa and Japan.

Two prototypes now participate in flight testing for the SSJ100, the first of which flew for the first time last May 19. The second aircraft took to the skies on December 24, and, together, the airplanes have amassed more than 300 flight hours. Sukhoi plans to fly the third aircraft this spring and expects to win Russian certification in November, followed by EASA approval some time next year.

Still lacking any orders in the Americas, Sukhoi expects FAA certification to follow EASA approval at a still indeterminate date.