Archive for September 13th, 2007

Sukhoi Superjet On Schedule While Targeting More Western Orders

“Sukhoi does not intend to follow the example of Airbus with its A380 or Boeing with its 787 and stressed this week, that the Sukhoi Superjet (SSJ) program is proceeding according to schedule.” It is funny in a way to read such a headline, but is very understandable, knowing the well communicated years-long delay of the A380, and the recently published news about the delay of the first flight of the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner. If Sukhoi manages to fulfill its plan of the rollout of the 95 seat variant on 26SEP2007, it would beat Airbus, which failed the original rollout time of the A380 (the 787 has been rolled out according to plan). If they manage to conclude the first flight on time as well, they would beat Boeing, too. About first delivery they are ahead of Airbus at the moment, but we do not yet know how the 787 will be or will not be delivered to its launch customer (All Nippon Airways of Japan) on time next year.

Sukhoi Superjet 100 - by Sukhoi

In the market of regional jets (for passengers between 35-100/120) there are two major players today: Canadian Bombardier with the Canadair Regional Jet (CRJ) family, and Brazil’s Embraer with the E-Jet (ERJ) family (earlier British BAe and Dutch Fokker were also important part of the market, but they stopped manufacturing their jets). A new Russian contender is being developed these days: the new Sukhoi Superjet 100. It is actually not solely being developed by Sukhoi, as they are assisted by bigger Russian partner Ilyushin, US Boeing and smaller Russian Yakovlev as well. Previously the project was referred to as Russian Regional Jet (RRJ), but has been renamed to Superjet in 2006. It is interesting to see Boeing being involved in such a development, but if we consider that this way it has influence on a future player of a market where it is not represented at the moment, it makes total sense! However, Sukhoi is talking about the next version of the plane at some occasions, but it is still unknown whether if it will be a shorter (75 seat) or a stretched version. Knowing that Boeing is involved in the tpye, and that a bigger than 110 seat plane would mean a direct competition to Boeing’s 737-600NG in terms of passenger capacity, it is more likely that a shorter version will be announced (or the slightly larger 110 seater), but let’s wait and see.

To make the project more international, in the quickly developing civil aircraft arm of Russian Aeronautical Firm Sukhoi, actually the Finmeccanica Group from Italy owns 25%, and is waiting for Mr. Putin’s signature to gain one extra share, which can only be done by the special approval of the Russian President as aviation is classified as a protected industry. It is interesting to know that Finmeccanica through its subsidiary Alenia Aereonautica already owns 50% of ATR (regional turboprop powered aircraft manufacturing firm) and according to reports it’s trying to buy-out the other 50% from EADS, which is also parent of Airbus… Very interesting ties within the industry, I think.

The Superjet 100-95 is planned to be launched with Aeroflot Russian Airlines in November 2008, the largest future operator to date, with 45 firm orders. The type until now has received a total of 71 firm orders, including 10 from the first Western customer: ItAli Airlines of Italy, which was announced at the Paris Air Show earlier this year with delivery beginning in December 2008. ItAli will replace its MD-80 fleet with the Superjets, providing an example for other operators of the aging McDonnel Douglas aircraft. Superjet International – the new joint venture between Alenia Aereonautica and Sukhoi Holding focusing on worldwide after-sales support and marketing and sales of the Superjet 100 regional aircraft family in Europe, the Americas, Africa, Oceania and Japan is targeting approximately 300 orders by 2010. This would include the above mentioned 10 by ItAli Airlines. To date besides the 71 aircraft ordered, there are 39 options in place as well. Sukhoi Chairman Viktor Subboting is confident of announcing two new orders “in the next weeks” and is planning with 100 firm orders by the end of 2007. It was also confirmed that Sukhoi is planning other versions of the Superjet, such as VIP (expecting 20 to be sold in the Russian market, and around 100 worldwide in the short-term), and Cargo configurations, for both of which the new joing venture Superjet International will be responsible. According to earlier reports in the media, there are a number of Western airlines considering the SSJ family, such as Air France, Lufthansa, SAS and Iberia. Lately we have heard of SAS coming close to finalizing an order, while Malev Hungarian Airlines also joined the list of potential customers after being bought by AirUnion, that is already holding firm orders for the aircraft. Whether if Malev would receive a few planes from the AirUnion order, or if it will place its own, separate order, is not yet known, but from a fleet management point of view, it would be logical that the planned to be extensively cooperating airlines will operate the same aircraft types as well.

But first let’s see the roll-out of the plane in less than two weeks!

by balint01

All Operators Need To Ground Bombardier Q400s Following 2 Accidents

A second incident has occurred involving the collapse of a right main landing gear shortly after touchdown on a Q400 aircraft operated by SAS. The first incident occurred at Aalborg, Denmark on September 9, 2007. The second incident occurred on September 12, 2007 at Vilnius, Lithuania. There were no reported injuries amongst the crew of four and 48 passengers on board the second aircraft.

As a precautionary measure, Bombardier and Goodrich, the landing gear manufacturer, recommend in an All Operator Message (AOM) that operators of Q400 aircraft having accumulated more than 10,000 landing gear cycles (a cycle is one take-off and landing), be grounded until an inspection of the landing gear is carried out.

Bombardier has delivered more than 160 Q400 aircraft to airlines around the world, of these there are currently about 60 Q400 aircraft with more than 10,000 landing gear cycles.

A Bombardier Air Safety representative has been dispatched to the second incident site to provide assistance to the investigating authorities. Until such time as investigations are concluded by the relevant aviation authorities, Bombardier cannot speculate or comment as to the cause of these incidents.

Source: Bombardier

By Szafi 

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September 2007