Sukhoi Boosts SBJ Range But Lowers Market Estimate

 - September 24, 2012, 8:46 AM
Launch customer Comlux Aviation will be performing the first two cabin completions of the new Sukhoi Business Jet, which is derived from the Superjet SJ100 airliner. (Photo: Vladimir Karnozov)

Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Company (SCAC) has confirmed a range increase for the Sukhoi Business Jet (SBJ) version of its Superjet SJ100 airliner from 4,000 nm to 4,250 nm carrying eight passengers. At the same time, the Russian manufacturer also has lowered its estimated market for the model to 80 units over the next 20 years—down from the 100 sales it anticipated when the program was launched at the Paris Air Show in June 2011. Starting in 2014, the company expects to deliver between 4 and 6 SBJs out of an annual total of 60 Superjets. Russia is projected to account for a significant share of this demand, along with Latin America, the Middle East and Southeast Asia.

So far, the SBJ has just one customer, with Swiss-based Comlux Aviation ordering a pair of the aircraft (plus two options) for its managed charter fleet during the 2011 NBAA show. Deliveries of the aircraft are set to start in 2014, with Comlux’s facility in Indianapolis, Ind., set to do the first two cabin completions. Deliveries to Russian clients will be made after completion at the Superjet International facility in Venice, Italy.

The SBJ carries a sticker price of $50 million and for this customers will get a business jet with a top-speed of 465 kts and 4,191 cu ft of cabin space—almost twice the size of a Bombardier Global Express. Cabin width is almost 11 feet and the interior height is almost 6 feet 11 inches.

Sukhoi sees Embraer’s Lineage 1000 as the main competitor to the SBJ. It also hopes to encroach on the market for the more expensive, but larger, Airbus ACJ and Boeing Business Jet families.

SCAC spokesman Andrei Muraviev told AIN that the company has had “a lot of positive feedback” since introducing the SBJ. Sukhoi believes that the improved operating economics promised by the Superjet will prove attractive to SBJ operators too.