Superjet International partner Alenia Aermacchi is doubtful that the Sukhoi Superjet marketing company will conclude a deal for the type with Italian airline Blue Panorama.
The two sides signed a memorandum of understanding to take up to 12 of the Russian-built regional jets at the 2011 Paris air show. However, Blue Panorama has filed for Italy's equivalent of Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
Speaking at an event in Istres, France, Alenia Aermacchi chief executive Giuseppe Giordo said that negotiations to firm the agreement were halted earlier in the year when Blue Panorama appeared to be on the verge of a merger with Alitalia.
Although this deal later collapsed, Giordo says its talks with Blue Panorama have still not resumed. "It is not in the best of financial situations so we are no longer discussing moving from a [memorandum] to a solid order," says Giordo.
Superjet International is completing the initial aircraft for the type's first western customer, Mexico's Interjet, at its Venice facility. Delivery is scheduled for the first half of 2013 and Giordo believes the handover will mark a key moment for the programme.
"Once it starts operating in a country outside of Russia [and the CIS] it will show that the aircraft is reliable and can be successful in a western country," he says.
Sukhoi has just delivered the first Superjet to Russian carrier Yakutia, the third operator of the type behind Armavia and Aeroflot.