While H.E. Akbar Al Baker was joyfully being Farnborough’s center of attention with Qatar’s impressive aircraft showcase and JetBlue’s founder David Neeleman surprising spectators as his new startup announced an order for 60 A220’s, one airline was quietly making moves with Russian aircraft manufacturers. Peruvian Airlines met with Sukhoi Civil Aircraft representatives, putting their eyes on a couple of Russian airliners as possible candidates to join their fleet.
The airline’s founder, Cesar Cataño, signed an agreement of intent with Sukhoi’s president, Alexander Rubtsov, to acquire the 10 Sukhoi Superjet (SSJ) 100 and 10 MC-21 passenger jets. The Peruvian carrier attributes its decision to “the bright performance of the SSJ100 with other airlines in Latin America,” probably referring to Interjet as it is the only carrier in the region operating this model.
The Mexican airline operates 22 SSJ100’s and has eight more on the way, although its reliability has come into question in recent months by media reports claiming that the airline is scrapping the aircraft for parts. The aircraft has been commended from passengers and crews alike for its ample and comfortable cabin, with a generous seat pitch of 34 inches in a 2-3 configuration.
The Sukhoi Superjet 100 was designed to compete with the Embraer E-190/195 and Bombardier’s CSeries project, claiming to have a lower purchasing list price at US$35 million per unit and lower operating costs. However, this has to be taken with a pinch of salt, taking into account that the aircraft was launched almost 10 years ago.
In the meantime, both Bombardier, now with Airbus taking over the CSeries, and Embraer have developed their aircraft with more fuel-efficient engines and a high use of composite materials, making the A220 and the newly launched E190-E2 more operationally efficient than the Superjet. Additionally, since the aircraft is mostly used in Europe and Asia, maintenance and parts are sparse in South America, as Interjet experienced…