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    Russia's Sukhoi holds public presentation of SuperJet-100

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    Russian aircraft manufacturer Sukhoi officially presented to the public on Wednesday its first SuperJet-100 regional aircraft.

    KOMSOMOLSK-ON-AMUR, September 26 (RIA Novosti) - Russian aircraft manufacturer Sukhoi officially presented to the public on Wednesday its first SuperJet-100 regional aircraft.

    The family of medium-haul passenger aircraft was developed by the Sukhoi Design Bureau in cooperation with major American and European aviation corporations, including Boeing, Snecma, Thales, Messier Dowty, Liebherr Aerospace, and Honeywell.

    The presentation ceremony in Komsomolsk-on-Amur, in Russia's Far East, was attended by First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov, who is in charge of Russia's United Aircraft-Building Corporation (UABC), formed last year.

    Ivanov thanked Russian constructors and engineers for their work in creating the SuperJet, as well as foreign colleagues from Italy, France and other countries. The plane's construction would have been impossible without international cooperation, he said.

    "It requires all the best that it is currently available in the world, including technology, materials and equipment, to create a competitive product," Ivanov said.

    The Sukhoi SuperJet-100 is the company's largest civilian aircraft program. The manufacturer plans to produce at least 700 SuperJet-100s, and intends to sell 35% of them to North America, 25% to Europe, 10% to Latin America, and 7% to Russia and China.

    The overall market for the SuperJet-100 is estimated at about 5,500 airliners, worth $100 billion, up to 2023.

    So far, Sukhoi Civil Aircraft, a subsidiary of the Sukhoi holding, has secured over 70 orders for its regional aircraft and plans to increase the number to 100 by the end of the year. Aeroflot, Russia's leading air carrier, is one of the largest clients, with contracts for the delivery of at least 45 planes.

    The first flight of the new aircraft is scheduled for the end of 2007, while the first deliveries to the main customer, Aeroflot, are scheduled for early 2008.

    Russian billionaire and general director of Krasnoyarsk-based Siberian airline KrasAir, Boris Abramovich, also attended the presentation of SuperJet-100. He said Hungary's Malev Airlines, in which he holds a large stake, may purchase up to 15 of the new aircraft.

    "I believe Malev will order up to 15 new 95-seat SuperJet-100 planes. The decision could be made in the first half of 2008," he said.

    The catalogue price of a 95-seat basic version is $28 million, but the company is currently working on both smaller and larger capacity models of the SuperJet-100 series.

    Dmitry Matsenov, a vice president of Sukhoi Civil Aircraft, said that by 2010 the company plans to introduce to the market a new business class version of SuperJet-100, which will have additional fuel tanks to increase flight distance up to 8,000 km (4,972 miles) from the current 4,500 km (2,797 miles) and its estimated price will be $40 million.

    At the Paris Air Show in June, Sukhoi signed a $283-million contract to supply 10 Superjet-100s to Italian carrier ItAli Airlines, and the company said in July it would build the first nine aircraft in 2008.

    At the same time, the company is planning to continue the modernization and production of its famous family of military aircraft, including Su-27 and Su-30 Flanker fighters, Su-33 Flanker-D naval fighters, Su-34 Fullback strike aircraft and Su-35 Flanker-E air superiority fighters.

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