More Kremlin Cash Underwrites Superjet Lease Deals

 - August 25, 2015, 3:49 PM
Russian airline Yamal is one of several carriers set to benefit from new leasing terms being offered by government-backed GTLK for Sukhoi's Superjet 100 twinjet. [Photo: Vladimir Karnozov]

[This story was updated on August 26 to include information about further related announcements]

Russian government-backed leasing group GTLK formally signed a contract to buy 32 Sukhoi Superjet 100 (SSJ100) aircraft on the first day of Moscow’s MAKS airshow. The deal, which is being underwritten by around $527 million in government funding agreed in July, includes a mix of new and already manufactured aircraft. Russian trade and industry minister Denis Manturov last month stated that GTLK will lease the twinjets to Russian airlines including Yamal, Red Wings and Center-South.

Commenting on the new leasing arrangements with GTLK, Yuri Slyusar, president of Sukhoi parent group UAC, said that this only happened through the direct support of the Russian government and financial institutions under its control. The Russian government helped us solve the debt problems of SCAC [Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Company]....and also provided the money for additional capitalization of the public leasing companies and these, in turn, have come to help us pace our airplanes with airlines that do not possess much financial stability, he commented. These airlines now enjoy a financial package that enables them to keep a [financial] balance in the declining market for passenger transportation in Russia."

UAC also signed an agreement with Russia's Savings Bank to provide guarantees for Superjet residual values. This involves a new company called UAC-Capital that provides the guarantees to Superjet operators. "This mechanism will give our customers some assurance that the airplanes they buy from us, in conditions where there is a shortage of statistics on residual market values, will indeed have some residual value." The arrangement allows Superjet owners to sell their used airplanes back to the manufacturer at a guaranteed minimum rate.

"Red Wings subsequently signed an agreement with GTLK covering the delivery of 15 SSJ100s that are to be operated under a 10-year lease. The airline's fleet already includes four SSJ100s and is due to receive a fifth from Sukhoi in October. These aircraft are set to be transferred to GTLK's lease portfolio and will continue to be operated by Red Wings, which by the end of 2017 should have 17 of the aircraft in service, with the remaining 3 to follow in 2018.

"Also at the MAKS show, the Ilyushin Finance Co. leasing group signed a trilateral letter of intent under which Cambodia’s Sky Angkor Airlines will wet-lease an SSJ100 from Red Wings. Ilyushin will also deliver two more of the aircraft (SSJ100LRs) to Sky Angkor under an operating lease. The 12-month wet-lease is due to start in December, and once this expires the two new SSJ100LRs will be delivered by Ilyushin.Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Company displayed a pair of SSJ100s on the MAKS show static display—one featuring the new enhanced comfort cabin interior. The manufacturer also flew another example of the twinjet in the daily flying display. Earlier this year, the company launched an effort to boost SSJ100 sales by introducing new financing options, including the creation of a new leasing joint venture in China.