Russian airframer Sukhoi admits it has made a proposal to Alitalia for its Superjet 100 aircraft, and expects the airline to make a decision in the second half of the year.
Sukhoi responded to the airline's request for proposal last October to expand its fleet of regional aircraft, and has made a "very attractive" proposal, says Alessandro Franzoni, CEO of Superjet International, which is responsible for marketing the jet.
"We are coming very, very close, and we consider Alitalia a key customer for us. We believe we have the perfect fit for their needs," he adds.
Earlier this month, Sukhoi listed Alitalia as a customer for a firm order of 20 aircraft, but withdrew the information after it was reported.
The comments from Sukhoi at the show are the closest it has subsequently come to admitting that Alitalia is a potential customer.
Sukhoi has an order backlog of 131 aircraft for the Superjet, and expects to make first deliveries by year-end.