Armavia – the private Armenian carrier – took delivery of the first production Sukhoi Superjet 100 (registration number EK95015 for Armavia), at Zvartnots International Airpot in Yerevan on April 20, 2011 – nearly three years after the jet’s maiden flight. The aircraft was christened “Yuri Gagarin” in memory of the first cosmonaut who orbited Earth fifty years and one week ago. The Armenian carrier holds two firm orders plus two options.
“This is definitely a great milestone for the Russian aerospace industry, because this SSJ100 is in fact the first production aircraft of modern Russia, created in partnership with worldwide aerospace leaders,” said Armavia owner Mikhail Bagdasarov. United Aircraft Corp. President and Sukhoi Holding General Director Mikhail Pogosyan added, “The delivery of the first production aircraft is the key milestone of the Sukhoi Superjet 100 Project. The event opens a new stage of the program—the beginning of commercial operation and full-scale serial production.”
Launch customer Aeroflot holds firm orders for 30 SSJ100s plus 15 options – but it is not clear why Armavia has taken delivery of the first aircraft if Aeroflot is designated as the launch customer. The only possible reason may seem that Aeroflot’s original delivery time has passed by now – and the Russian Flag Carrier is in the middle of a process to file for penalties with Sukhoi Co. – not only for being late with delivery, but also for delivering a plane with different technical specifications than originally contracted. With this delivery, Sukhoi at least could fulfill its contract with Armavia though – and will only be penalized by one of its customers, instead of two. It looks like Armavia was easier in accepting the slightly changed specifications as well.
The aircraft, which officially rolled out on Sept. 26, 2007, completed its maiden flight on May 19, 2008 in Komsomolsk-on-Amur, and obtained IAC AR Type Certificate on February 3rd, this year. Armavia plans to utilize the aircraft on service to Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi and Ukraine. It operates a fleet of three A320s, three A319s, one CRJ200, IL-86 and one YaK-42.
Sukhoi plans to deliver one more SSJ100 to Armavia and 11 SSJ100s to Aeroflot this year. The first aircraft for Aeroflot is due to be delivered in about a month, mid-May-2011.