Mexican low-cost carrier Interjet has formally taken delivery of its first Sukhoi Superjet at the Paris air show, and aims to begin revenue flights with the aircraft by August.
The airline expects to receive two Superjets in Mexico by the end of this month, Interjet chief executive Jose Luis Garza tells Flightglobal. The second aircraft is at the Superjet International facility in Venice.
Interjet's pilots will have to operate the aircraft on at least 100h of non-commercial flights to comply with Mexican regulations before revenue service can begin, he says. Interjet has orders for 20 Superjets and will take delivery of one aircraft a month to have all 20 in its fleet by end-2014.
"We will mostly operate them on mid-density routes in Mexico, and hope to open 20 new destinations in Mexico in the next 18 months," says Garza, citing Zacatecas and Leon as possible new destinations.
Also on the cards are Superjet flights to US destinations such as to Arizona and Texas, says Garza. Interjet operates Airbus A320s on its flights to San Antonio, Texas and is likely to fly the Superjet on its Monterrey-San Antonio route.
The airline's Superjets are configured to have 93 seats with 34in (864mm) seat pitch in a single class. Interjet will also operate 41 A320s by year-end, before deliveries of an order of 40 A320neos begin in 2018 and run through 2022.
The carrier also holds 10 Superjet options, which it might convert if it is satisfied with the aircraft's performance. Garza says: "If all goes well, why not?"