Interjet puts Superjet into service

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Mexican carrier Interjet has performed the first revenue flights with its Sukhoi Superjet 100, putting two of the type into service on routes from Mexico City.

The airline used its first aircraft, delivered in July, to operate flight 3150 to Torreon on 18 September while its second, received in August, conducted flight 3963 to Aguascalientes.

Sukhoi's civil aircraft division says the two aircraft were each scheduled to conduct eight flights to domestic destinations including Campeche, Minatitlan, Zacatecas and Mazatlan.

It says the training regime at Interjet's Toluca base, ahead of introducing the aircraft to scheduled service, included performing 171 touch-and-go manoeuvres.

Forty-four Interjet pilots, among them five instructors, as well as around 100 engineers have been trained by Superjet International, the marketing venture which supports Western customers for the twinjet.

Twenty Superjets have been delivered to various carriers, says Sukhoi, with Interjet the first outside of the former Soviet Union and south-east Asia.

"After a start-up phase, the [Superjet] programme is determined to become a competitive player in the regional aircraft segment," says Superjet International chief Nazario Cauceglia.

He insists the PowerJet SaM146-equipped aircraft has "great potential" and forecasts that, over the next 20 years, there will be an "addressable market" for 1,000 airframes.