Feb 3, 2011

First Superjet-100 christened Yury Gagarin

Sukhoi Superjet-100. Photo: RIA Novosti 

The brand new Sukhoi Superjet 100 liner, the first produced commercially, proudly bears the name of space pioneer Yury Gagarin. The aircraft, designed by Sukhoi Civil Aircraft, will be delivered to Armenian air carrier Armavia at the beginning of this year. Meanwhile February 3 saw the Superjet 100 receive its Type Certification from the Interstate Aviation Committee (IAC).
Having received the nod from the IAC, the fly-by-wire regional jet with a 5,000 km range, designed to carry around 100 passengers, is now ready for commercial operation. The word “first” has hundreds of applications when it comes to the Superjet. For instance, this is the first passenger plane made using digital technologies. For the first time ever, such a project was carried out in close concert with foreign aircraft construction companies, including Boeing, Alenia, Thales, SNECMA and Honeywell. The aircraft is fitted out with mostly foreign-made equipment and devices, and from the very beginning asserts its absolute competitiveness.
Now it needs to demonstrate its operational characteristics, stresses the head of the avia.ru website Roman Gusarov:
"The airplane accords with modern ideas of convenience. This won’t raise any issues as it fully meets expectations for this kind of vehicle. We’ll be able to judge how reliable it is from how it fares during operation. The same can be said for the turnaround in its service and maintenance. This is an important parameter, which will strongly impact upon how well it’ll sell. Sadly, so far, the maintenance issue has been the Achilles Heel of the Russian aviation industry. But Sukhoi are establishing a principally new system together with their foreign partners. I hope that the plane will be serviced expeditiously, that parts’ delivery will be timely and the Superjet won’t be complicated and expensive to run. If all these factors fall into place, we will see a spike in demand for these airplanes," Gusarov forecasts.
At this stage, successful marketing and promotion of this airplane is becoming the number one task. There have been some achievements to this end so far, with air carriers from South East Asia, Latin America, countries in the CIS and Russia confirming 170 orders.
Competition in this sector is fierce, but the Sukhoi managed to outpace its competitors by milliseconds, just like in a 100-metre sprint, Roman Gusarov points out:
"There’s plenty of competition for this project and there are pros and cons for each manufacturer. First of all, there are the already existing Embraer planes. At the same time, there’s work happening in Japan and China on aircraft with analogous characteristics. But these planes are only undergoing development and haven’t reached the commercial production stage," the aviation expert explains.
Sukhoi plans to make no fewer than 800 Superjets by 2020. Middle Eastern countries are showing an interest in planes with a carrying capacity of up to 100 passengers. No European companies have stepped forward to place orders as yet, since Superjet doesn’t yet have European Aviation Safety Agency certification, but this is set to be rectified in 2012. This year, German carrier Lufthansa plans to hold a tender for the renewal of its regional airplane fleet and Sukhoi Civil Aircraft is expected to take part.

Source:  english.ruvr.ru

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