According to a story in Kommersant, Russia’s Azimuth has taken delivery of a new SSJ with “second category” engines. The problem is likely to grow, according to the story, with the airline expecting to take more aircraft, also with “second category” engines.
Sanctions have started to bite deeper. The engines being used for aircraft deliveries come from a spares pool. Though they may be in “excellent” condition, a thinning spares pool means trouble to come. If the spares pool powers new deliveries, what is left for spares?
Delaying SSJ deliveries because the Russian Federal Air Transport Agency is trying to figure out how the airworthiness documents need to be drawn up also bears thought. No new SaM146 engines have been made since sanctions were imposed in February. Engines sent to France for maintenance have not been returned either. The pool of available engines is therefore shrinking.
UEC is developing a domestic engine for the SSJ named PD-8. But this engine is unlikely to be ready before the end of next year. The SSJ fleet is now flown extensively to airports outside Russia on longer routes than they would normally be deployed. This is because these SSJs are not owned by western lessors and won’t be attached. The SSJ fleet is being worked hard, and it is unclear how much this has driven up maintenance demands. Operators are pushing the engines – to double their previous hours between maintenance.
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