MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The lease of the Russian-made Sukhoi Superjet 100 short-haul airliner shows it is superior to other planes in its class, says Valery Yelenev, Director of the Samara National Research University’s Aviation Technology Institute.
The plane’s improved fuel efficiency is due to superior aerodynamics and a new engine. “To be honest, earlier Russian planes were inferior to their foreign equivalents in this respect,” he noted. Quite possibly, the Irish airline was influenced by this and other criteria, he added.
Yelenev also mentioned the plane’s low cost as a major advantage. This model is less expensive than other planes with seating for up to 100 passengers,” he noted. Political considerations sometimes prevail over economic factors when contracts of this kind are signed. According to Yelenev, common sense has prevailed this time. “Political considerations have been put aside, and economics have defeated politics,” he said.
Sukhoi Civil Aircraft has manufactured over 100 SSJ 100s to date, Yelenev noted. “One hundred aircraft means that serial production is already underway. Naturally, technologies and the production process will be upgraded,” he added.
The SSJ 100 first flew in May 2008. It is currently in service with Aeroflot, Gazprom Avia, Yakutia Airlines and Red Wings. Other operators include the Russian Interior Ministry and Mexico’s Interjet airline. CityJet will lease 15 SSJ 100s, with an option for 16 more. The agreement is worth over $1 billion.