Farnborough Air Show

AviaLeasing signs for 40 Superjets

 - July 15, 2008, 10:53 AM

The backlog of orders for Sukhoi’s Superjet 100 regional airliner passed into three figures yesterday when Russia’s AviaLeasing signed a heads of agreement for 24 of the 95-seat model and options for 16 more. Here at Farnborough today, Sukhoi is expected to announce a breakthrough order from a Western operator.

The $630 million deal with AviaLeasing was signed here yesterday by Sukhoi Civil Aircraft president Victor Soubbotin and the leasing group’s deputy chairman, Victor Novikov. The contract, which builds on the 73 firm orders logged prior to the show, is expected to be finalized within six months.

According to Sukhoi Holding chief executive Mikhail Pogosyan, diversification is the strategy underlying the Russian company’s ambitions to become a global aerospace player, as demonstrated by the first flights earlier this year of the new Su-35 fighter and the Superjet. The company has produced more than 11,000 aircraft and some 2,000 of them are still in service, he said. But 90 percent of its current business is military and it plans to achieve an equal balance between military and civil aircraft. “Only diversification and our vision can ensure our long-term position in the global aerospace market,” said Pogosyan.

The Su-35 that made its maiden flight in February is a fourth-plus generation fighter incorporating technologies used in the modernization of Su-27 family fighters and others planned for the fifth-generation fighter Sukhoi plans to unveil during next year’s Moscow airshow at Zhukovsky, he said. It will also act as a good bridge to the entry into service of that airplane. It will be in production until 2020 and could sell as many as 200 copies.

The Su-35 has already been demonstrated at Zhukovsky to the Russian ministry of defense and potential foreign customers. “The test schedule did not allow us to bring it to Farnborough but we hope to show it here in future,” said Pogosyan.

The first Superjet, meanwhile, has completed 10 flights and logged 29 hours in the air since its first flight on May 19 at Sukhoi’s KnAAPO production plant in Komsomolsk-on-Amur. “The factory test flights are going very smoothly,” he said, “and are confirming our design calculations.”