A second operator of the Russian-made Superjet 100 (SSJ100) in Asia could be a Thailand-based company. Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Co (SCAC), the manufacturer of the regional jet, is preparing to sign a letter of intent (LOI) for six SSJ100s with an unnamed Thai start-up airline before the end of this year, SCAC’s president Alexander Rubtsov has revealed.
Should the LOI convert into a firm contract, the manufacturer will then consider setting up a spare parts facility and a maintenance centre covering the Asian region. Three SSJ100LRs – in VIP configuration – have been in service in Thailand since 2016, and are operated by the country’s Royal Air Force. The aircraft are operated in the interests of the country’s leaders, top officials and the high command of the armed forces.
Switching to another part of the world, Rubtsov says the manufacturer is now considering a maintenance centre for customers in Africa and the Middle East regions. “That’s the objective for next year,” admits the head of Sukhoi Civil. “We already have a customer in Zambia. And we are counting on placing more aircraft in Africa.” The customer that Rubtsov is referring to is the president of Zambia, with one SSJ100 scheduled for delivery in 2019. There are several options for a possible location of the maintenance centre, including in Rwanda, Kenya, Ethiopia and Bahrain.
In the Middle East, the manufacturer has recently signed a preliminary agreement with Lebanese Alexcina Airways for 12 aircraft. There is also interest from Iranian carriers for up to 40 SSJ100Rs. The first deliveries to these customers are planned for the first quarter of 2019 and through to 2020, respectively.
At present the after-sales support system for the type includes only two maintenance centres, in Moscow and in Venice. The latter, the Customer Care Centre of Russo-Italian joint venture SuperJet International, provides logistics and engineering support to European operators. Spare parts are stored and supplied from warehouses in Moscow (at Zhukovsky and Sheremetyevo airports), as well as at Munich (run by Lufthansa Technik Logistik) and Fort Lauderdale, Florida in the USA.
Apart from SCAC’s own maintenance centre at Zhukovsky, there are several third-party maintenance providers that are approved for providing maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services for the SSJ100. In Russia these include Aeroflot, A-Technics (part of Aeroflot group), S7 Technics, Tulpar Technic and Yakutia Airlines. Beyond Russia, the relevant aircraft maintenance services are available at Lithuanian FL Technics, Latvian Aviatechservice, Mexico’s Interjet and Germany’s Haitec Aircraft Maintenance.
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