It has not been a good year for Superjet. First, it was the news from Mexico, where Interjet is having challenges with the SSJ. Then Adria canceled its Superjet order, after signing for the aircraft only a few months earlier. Even an easy customer, Iran, has seen their interest in the Superjet derailed. This followed the news early in the year that CityJet, the first western customer for the Superjet, had lost its contract with Brussels Airlines because of the unreliability of the Superjet. CityJet has also stopped flying the aircraft, focusing instead on the Bombardier CRJ900.
Today, after the fatal accident in Moscow yesterday, Yamal Airlines decided to cancel its Superjet order. The timing was awkward, but it appears the accident and the cancelation are unrelated. Yamal has the same complaint Interjet and CityJet has – the Superjet costs too much to maintain.
Where can the OEM go now? High ownership and operating costs are clearly a challenge. Superjet is adding more capabilities with winglets and other improvements. The Italian marketing arm for Sukhoi must be facing a tough time persuading western customers to consider the aircraft. The Superjet was the first post-Soviet aircraft from Russia. It comes with modern western avionics (the problem for Iran) and western engines. At first glance, attractive pricing was a winner. But actual operations turned out to be a lot more expensive because of a weak supply chain. As we have noted before, this is an important lesson for UAC as they start planning for their MC-21 to enter service.