Sukhoi Civil Aircraft delivered the first Superjet 100–S/N 95007–to Armenian airline Armavia today during a ceremony held at Yerevan Zvartnots International Airport. At the ceremony, the participants named the aircraft after the USSR’s first cosmonaut, Yuri Gagarin. Authorities assigned it tail number EK95015.
Armavia plans to deploy the airplane on services to Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Sochi and Ukraine. The airline operates 102 regular weekly flights to and within 20 countries with a fleet of three Airbus A320s, three A319, one Bombardier CRJ200, an Ilyushin Il-86 and a Yakovlev Yak-42.
“The delivery of the first production aircraft is the key milestone of the Sukhoi Superjet 100 Project,” said Mikhail Pogosyan, president of United Aircraft Corporation and general director of Sukhoi Holding. “The event opens a new stage of the program–the beginning of commercial operation and full-scale serial production. No doubt that the new Russian aircraft will be a perfect operating tool in fleet of Armavia and our colleagues from [Italian support partner] Superjet International will give full support to Armenian national carrier and provide timely and high-quality after-sales support.”
Armavia placed the order for its pair of SSJ100-95s on Sept. 14, 2007.
“This is definitely a great milestone for the Russian aerospace industry, because this SSJ100 is, in fact, the first production aircraft of modern Russia, created in partnership with worldwide aerospace leaders,” said Armavia’s owner, Mikhail Bagdasarov.
The SSJ100 gained its Russian type certification in February, following a more than two-and-a-half year test campaign in which Sukhoi and its partners flew four flying prototypes and used two prototypes for static and fatigue trials. The four flying jets accumulated 2,594 flight hours during 1,087 flights. The quartet visited more than 20 airports in Russia, the CIS and Europe.
Although the initial certificate issued by Russia’s AR MAK/IAC AR certification authority permits only Category 2 landings, the final version of the flight mission software (expected from Thales by the end of the year) will allow for Category 3 landing capability. In the meantime, “the factory and the production processes have already been certified by EASA,” Superjet International chairman Carmelo Cosentino told AIN in January.
By the end of the year, SCAC plans to have delivered between six and eight aircraft to Russian and CIS operators. Thereafter, the company expects production to accelerate rather quickly, reaching an annual rate of 40 to 50 aircraft in two to three years, according to Pogosyan.
Sukhoi expects to gain EASA certification some time this summer. Italian support and marketing partner Superjet International has signed orders for 71 aircraft–30 from Bermuda-based Pearl Aircraft, six from Willis Lease Finance of the U.S., 20 from an undisclosed customer and, most recently, 15 from Mexico’s Interjet. For its part, SCAC has collected orders for 99 Superjets–30 from Aeroflot, 30 from Indonesia’s Kartika Airlines, 24 from Russia’s Avialeasing, 10 from Russia’s FLC (Financial Leasing Company), two from Armavia and three from Laotian start-up Phongsavanh Airlines.