The SSJ program is taking a hit as their launch western customer has decided to sell its fleet of 22 SSJs. This is a body blow to the program. At the recent Farnborough show, when Air Nostrum and CityJet announced their joint venture, they made it clear the fleet focus was going to be around the CRJ. The SSJ didn’t get a mention. CityJet was the European launch customer for the SSJ.
The blow is surely felt hardest in Venice, where SuperJet International acts as the agent to deliver SSJs to western customers. The western marketing program is not without hope though. AeroPeru has expressed interest in both the SSJ and MC-21. But the situation does look rather precarious.
Interjet is moving towards standardizing on A320neo family models.
As this news broke this week, Sukhoi announced a blockbuster order from Aeroflot for 100 SSJs. There are no details about the order yet. Questions that come to mind are: will these aircraft have the new winglets and will these aircraft also have reduced western inputs as has been discussed to date? Sukhoi needs to find ways to reduce western inputs to ensure the aircraft can be sold to Iran, for example. An order for 100 potentially provides a platform upon which UAC can drive the reduced western input program forward. This, in turn, could help the SSJ program make progress in Iran.
Iran needs a lot of newer aircraft and the SSJ checks a lot of boxes for Iran’s hard-pressed airlines. The SSJ is the right sized regional jet for many city pairs and also serves as a viable feeder service to the major hubs. The same logic is behind the ATR deployment at Iran Air. The fact that the SSJ is aggressively priced and can be financed by Russian banks offers a potentially compelling attraction. However, Iran’s airlines are more sensitive than most to be challenges of parts shortages. UAC can reduce the fear of MRO issues by licensing parts to Iranian aerospace firms.
An Iranian airline executive shared this thought: “Iran needs regional jets more than turborops. A Regional Jet is more economic than turboprop to carry passengers to existing Iranian Airports which are located in mountainous areas. It is the main reason that none of private airlines in Iran even neighbor countries operate turboprops. So Iran needs Regional Jets to keep and develop daily operations to a lot of airports and from there to even neighboring countries such as UAE ,Oman ,Kuwait ,Turkey and CIS.”