First birthday for SuperJet
FORTY-EIGHT thousand passengers have travelled 756 000 nautical miles (1,4-million kilometres) during 760 revenue flights logging 1 870 flight hours to 34 airports in Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, Western and Southern Europe and the Middle East including Moscow, St Petersburg, Madrid, Paris, Rome, Venice, Amsterdam, Athens and Dubai.
They covered this chunk of geography while flying at speeds ranging between Mach 0,78 and 0,8 at altitudes between 35 000 and 39 000 feet. And they did all this in the first Sukhoi SSJ100 SuperJet which celebrated its first anniversary of commercial service in the colours of launch customer, the Armenian airline, Armavia, recently. So convinced was Armavia that the aircraft would be a “hit” from the start, that it operated its first scheduled service from Yerevan within two days of its official delivery which, in itself, is something of a record.
The aircraft recorded its highest daily utilisation of 16,5 hours within a short time after entry into service and logged a total of 88 flights in 224 hours for its highest monthly utilisation in November 2011 and 91 shorter flights in March this year logging 213 hours for that month. Its longest route is the 2 160 nautical mile (4 000 km) leg from Yerevan to Madrid, in Spain, proving its ability to perform both regional and short-haul international services.
With statistics like this, there can be little doubt that, for the first year of operations, the first production SSJ100 aircraft, equipped with the brand new SaM146 engines, revealed remarkable operational results and an outstanding safety performance, factors which are certainly making Western plane-makers sit up and take note.
These milestones have been attributed to a fully-fledged after-sales support organisation managed by SuperJet International (responsible for the technical support of the aircraft operations and maintenance, as well as for training). Its Customer Services provides Armavia with the first class service agreement “SuperCare Plan” covering the entire spectrum of supporting activities. “The newest Russian aircraft SSJ100 met our expectations. Our passengers like this aircraft while our pilots, flight attendants and technicians easily get an experience to operate the SSJ100. We believe that the SSJ100 has a bright future”, said Sergey Kharatyan, head of Armavia Flight Services. “We are satisfied with results of the first year operations of our aircraft with Armavia. It was reached through joint efforts of SCAC, SuperJet International, PowerJet (the engine manufacturer) and Armavia.
“We are confident that the obtained joint experience and proper teamwork will help us to achieve all established targets,” noted Vladimir Prisyazhnyuk, president of Sukhoi Civil Aircraft. Sales of this “new kid on the block” are picking up and the manufacturer is now reported to have a backlog of over 170 aircraft. Production rate which was one a month at the beginning of this year, is due to have reached two a month by this month with a target of three per month having been set for production by the end of this year.
At least ten of these aircraft have been earmarked for Russia’s airline giant, Aeroflot, this year. With a cost advantage of a reported 15% over comparable Western-built airliners, the SSJ100 has already secured orders from outside the traditional Eastern market place, including at least one in the business jet configuration which was announced at last year’s NBAA expo in the United States. Although an order for the aircraft is reported to have also come from Africa, this has not been confirmed, but there is no doubt that Sukhoi International has its sights set on the continent’s airlines and is backing this up with the announcement that it already has sales representation in the region and that the SSJ100 will be on view at the Africa Aerospace and Defence exhibition in Pretoria in September.
Armavia’s new SSJ100 is seen here at Malta soon after it had entered service last year.