Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Co (SCAC), the manufacturer of Russia’s Superjet 100 (SSJ100) regional jet, has sold only one aircraft in the first nine months of 2019, Kommersant business daily reveals. The company’s revenue has subsequently declined dramatically by more than 4.5 times, down to six billion roubles, whilst the project’s net loss has increased by 250 per cent.
Such a shocking performance is attributable to a number of factors, including a spare engines crisis, protracted talks with Aeroflot on the delivery of 10 SSJ100s, and the intended introduction of increased government subsidies for aircraft purchases planned for next year.
Although SCAC’s revenue has decreased to six billion roubles, aircraft deliveries are accountable for only 2.1 billion of that total – which amounts to the price for a single SSJ100. Another four billion came from the manufacturer’s aftermarket support services. The net loss in the first nine months of this year increased by almost three times from 733.6 million to 1.9 billion roubles.
By comparison, in the first three quarters of 2018, the manufacturer’s revenue for aircraft deliveries was more than 12 times higher at 24.4 billion roubles. “We expect most of the deliveries [and sales] to happen during the fourth quarter,” insists SCAC’s press-service.
The depressed financial performance in the period was the fault of a number of contributory factors, the first of which involved the so-called SaM146 engines crisis in which, to support current in-operation SSJ100s by building-up a spare inventory of available engines, the manufacturer had no choice but to use those engines destined for newly-produced aircraft, sources from a large lease company and from the Ministry of Industry and Trade told the newspaper.
The United Engine Corporation (UEC), which is responsible for the delivery of the PowerJet SaM146 engines for the SSJ100, insists that this year it continued working on creating the spare engines pool. “[Since 2010] we delivered more than 400 engines to our customers, including SCAC,” UEC said.
Aeroflot remains the key customer in the Superjet 100 programme. However, talks on the delivery of 10 additional SSJ100s planned for this year are currently being protracted. State-controlled Aeroflot, which already operates 49 of the type, and was forced into the potential deal for as many as 100 more SSJ100s, has no option to exit this deal, but the airline can re-negotiate its conditions. Although the carrier’s board has recently agreed to take five SSJ100s, SCAC was expecting to deliver 10 this year.
The certification process for the type’s latest modification – horizontal wingtip devices dubbed saberlets – has also contributed to the delivery backlog. SCAC is waiting for Russian state aviation authority Rosaviatsiya to complete the certification procedures for this option before the first winglet-equipped aircraft can be delivered to its customer.
According to Russian Aviation Insider’s own sources, Cherepovets-based Severstal Airlines will be the first commercial operator of such a modified unit, with aircraft registration number RA-89135. The flight test programme for the modification has already been completed.
Another factor to have contributed to the poor 2019 SCAC results is the government’s intention to increase subsidies for buyers of the Russian-made aircraft. This subsidy largely benefits the leasing companies, and they can lower their lease rates for airlines. Therefore the carriers have decided to wait until next year, instead of in 2019, to order/take delivery of their Superjet 100s, which remains the only available civil aviation product of the Russian aircraft industry.
Last year Sukhoi Civil delivered 24 aircraft to customers.
by Ivan Volodin
Russian Aviation Insider
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