Brussels Airlines starts operating SSJ100

The Belgian carrier is wet-leasing one Russian-built regional jet from Irish partner CityJet The SSJ100 wet-leased from CityJet arrived from Venice in its new Brussels Airlines livery (Andrea Spoladore)

Brussels Airlines is ready to start operating its first Sukhoi Superjet 100 (SSJ100) airliner. On March 25, the aircraft with tail number EI-FWD arrived at the Belgian carrier’s base airport Zaventem.

The Russian-built regional jet, wet-leased from the carrier’s Irish partner City Jet, entered commercial service with Brussels Airlines on March 26, CityJet CCO Cathal O’Connell told Russian Aviation Insider. O’Connell added that the aircraft had been painted in the Brussels Airlines livery as part of the customization program.

CityJet, which specializes in wet-leasing passenger airplanes, has a total of four SSJ100s in its fleet, and expects to take delivery of two more of the type in April or May this year. The two new airliners will likely be leased to the Belgian airline under the two-year contract for three SSJ100s. According to the aircraft manufacturer Sukhoi Civil Aircraft, a total of five SSJ100s are to be delivered to CityJet before the end of the year.

The Russian-built aircraft will replace Brussels Airlines’ aging Avro RJ100s regional jets. The airline’s strategy calls for phasing out its own regional aircraft gradually, replacing them with wet-leased airliners and complementing the fleet with Airbus A320s.

CityJet has been operating SSJ 100s since June 2016. At the end of last summer, one of the aircraft was wet-leased to Finnish carrier Norra (Finnair’s subsidiary) for one month. One SSJ100 has been operated in the interests of UK carrier BMI Regional since February 27, O’Connell told Russian Aviation Insider. CityJet’s total firm order stands at 15 SSJ100s, plus an option for 16 more.

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