Aeroflot launches first Superjet flights

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Russian flag-carrier Aeroflot has put its first Sukhoi Superjet 100 into commercial operation, deploying the type on a flight from Moscow to St Petersburg.

The aircraft, serial number 95008, departed Moscow Sheremetyevo at 09:10 on 16 June and landed at 10:40.

Aeroflot becomes the second airline to introduce the twinjet following its inauguration with Armavia in April.

Senior Russian ministers attending an international economic forum were among the first passengers on the 87-seat aircraft, which was delivered to Aeroflot under contract with state-backed finance house VEB-Leasing.

Sukhoi stated that SkyTeam alliance member Aeroflot has ordered 30 Superjets and has plans to buy 10 more.

Aeroflot chief Vitaly Saveliev said that the Superjet will contribute to the carrier's strategy to create a global network, by reinforcing its domestic operation.

He said it would be used on routes from Moscow to St Petersburg, Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod, Ufa and Samara. "Over time, it will be deployed on overseas routes," he added.