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Aeroflot unveiled Sukhoi Superjet for Cuba

The first SSJ was wheeled out at the aircraft manufacturing plant in the Far Eastern city Komsomolsk-on-Amur yesterday, September 26, 2007. According to First Vice Premier Sergey Ivanov, SSJ leads amid civil projects of United Aircraft Corporation (UAC). "Russia hasnt manufactured passenger jets up to the world standards for 16 years," Ivanov emphasized.

Sukhoi Chief Executive Mikhail Pogosyan vowed to deliver to clients six SSJs already next year. The airliner, however, will be certified only by the end of 2008, right before supplies to the starting client, Aeroflot, and this delay has triggered speculations about potential risks. Sukhoi Civil Aircraft President Viktor Subbotin also acknowledged that certain risks would be taken but pointed out that "the stage of the final assembly will be maximally moved to the moment of completing the static tests and the systems stand processing." "Then, the risk will be lowered at most," the official promised.

SSJ project was launched in 2001; the catalogue worth of the jet ranges from $23.4 million to $28.9 million depending on the layout. Sukhoi Civil Aircraft has firm contracts for 73 SSJs in the 95-seat basic layout. Of them, Aeroflot ordered 30 jets, Financial Leasing Co. - 10, AirUnion - 15, Dalavia - 6, ItAli - 10 and Armavia - 2. The project will pay off once 300 jets are sold, Pogosyan specified. Under SSJ business plan, it should happen by 2013. The target is to release 30 jets in 2009 and 60 in 2010.

SSJ is due to make the first flight in a month and a half or in two months, but the dates could be put off on delay in the engine tests. Regardless, optimistic Aeroflot expects the first SSJ in November of 2008, intending to fine for any delays and to operate the jets jointly with foreign partners. Aeroflot GD Valery Okulov said they are planning to set up a venture with some Cuban airline. It will be Cubana de Aviacion, specified Lev Koshlyakov, who is Okulovs deputy at Aeroflot.

Source: Kommersant

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