Superjet Deals With Production Issues; Delivers to Interjet

 - November 25, 2013, 10:20 AM
Mexican low-cost carrier Interjet now flies three Sukhoi SSJ100s. It holds firm orders for 20. (Photo: SuperJet International)

Carrying the flag for the Russian civil aircraft industry on static display last week at the Dubai Airshow, the Sukhoi Superjet 100 made an impression on both sides of the globe as Mexico’s Interjet prepared to press into service its third copy of the 100-seat regional jet.

Speaking with AIN at the Alta Airline Leaders Forum in Cancun, Mexico, Nazario Cauceglia, CEO of SuperJet International (the SSJ100’s Western sales, support and marketing arm), addressed some of the airplane’s early production rate “issues.” Cauceglia said he anticipates delivery of 25 aircraft this year and 40 next year. He added that the production facilities in Komsomolsk-on-Amur, Russia, will cut the final assembly time per aircraft to 10 days from its current 20 days by 2015.

Cauceglia attributed the slow start in part to the fact that, unlike competitors, the Superjet 100 represented a “clean-sheet” design with anticipated growing pains. But the result, he said, amounts to “a marriage of Russian design skills and Western technology.”

One example–the Russian-made SaM146 PowerJet engines–resulted from a joint venture of engine manufacturers Saturn of Russia and Snecma of France. The combination of the engine and wing design, said Superjet International, has resulted in a 5 percent better fuel burn than competitors, “and seven or eight percent is possible,” said Cauceglia.

Sukhoi has solved an early bottleneck created by fuselage and wing mating problems through such efficiencies as providing each worker with his own kit and specified responsibilities, he added. Meanwhile, photographs taken through the entire assembly process allowed an easy review of what had gone wrong in the process.

Based on early revenue service operating statistics compiled by low-cost carrier Interjet, the airline’s first two SSJ100s have achieved a dispatch reliability rate of better than 99 percent, and average daily utilization of nine flight hours. SuperJet International continues to prepare the fourth Interjet SSJ100 at its delivery center in Italy, and the airline holds firm orders for a total of 20 aircraft.