MAKS: Armavia doubles Superjet presence at show

Moscow
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Armavia's first Sukhoi Superjet, the initial production aircraft, demonstrated its capabilities at the MAKS show four months after the type entered airline service with the Armenian carrier.

It spent an hour in the skies over Moscow, showing off its performance to media representatives.

The PowerJet SaM146-equipped aircraft, named after cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, started operating for Armavia on 21 April and by 7 August it had clocked up 617 flight hours across 250 operations.

Sukhoi said the aircraft (EK-95015) had flown on a network from the Armenian capital, Yerevan, covering 20 airports in Russia and Ukraine, as well as Europe and the Middle East.

Daily utilisation had reached, in some cases, up to 16.5h, the airframer said, which displayed the Armavia twinjet at MAKS along with one of its prototype Superjets.

"The aircraft fully confirmed its operability on regional as well as short- and medium-haul sectors," it added.

armavia superjet 100 @ maks, billypix
 © Billypix

Aeroflot is the only other user of the type so far, and had logged 227h in 139 operations by 7 August, having put the twinjet into service on 16 June.

It has deployed Superjet on routes from Moscow Sheremetyevo to St Petersburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Ufa and Ekaterinburg.

While Aeroflot's initial experience has not been entirely smooth, Sukhoi said: "Entering commercial operation is one of the most critical and difficult stages of a programme to create a new airliner.

"At the initial stage, without exception, all new aircraft are faced with unforeseen technical problems that may emerge only during intensive use.

"In the first year - especially in the first months - aircraft-on-ground situations occur much more frequently than in subsequent operations."

Sukhoi added that the key issue is not the problems but the speed at which they are resolved.

No such problems emerged during the Armavia demonstration flight, during which participants were able to make a rare in-flight visit to the cockpit.

Sky Aviation of Indonesia has signed for 12 of the twinjets at the show, and sources familiar with the situation say Russian energy giant Gazpromavia also intends to take 10.