There is a fascinating story out today about Mexico’s Interjet and their aircraft vendor. The near $40m in compensation from Sukhoi is a number that bears some consideration – it is roughly 1.6 times the value of one aircraft. That means it is a relatively huge number.
Next notice that the story says the compensation came from Sukhoi. Not a word about the deliverer of the aircraft, Superjet International. Indeed we have heard very little from the latter in a long time. It appears that Sukhoi is taking a much proactive role in the market rather than dealing through its Italian partnership, which handles “western” sales.
Sukhoi has not covered itself in glory. At Farnborough when CityJet and Air Nostrum disclosed their pending merger, we asked specifically about SSJ and the response was not encouraging. CityJet was a much-heralded western customer after the win at Interjet. Both airlines have reported running into spares shortages. The lack of spares has hurt both airlines. But this has hurt Sukhoi even more. If one wondered why the Iranians haven’t jumped on orders, and here might be a reason why. The Iranians now only too well what its like needing spares and the struggle to maintain schedules. Even if Russia had no sanctions on Iran, the experience at the two western customers have sent a message. Iranian airlines are adept at avoiding any more headaches.
The SSJ lesson is one that UAC is no doubt learning well. The MC-21 program is going to the premier program and UAC will not risk the program with a similar situation to the SSJ. UAC will move towards ensuring its program is western-sanctions proof. It will also ensure the parts and spares pool is big enough to support customers anywhere. It has no option because that is what airlines demand and need.