Russia keeps funding focus on Superjet baseline version

Moscow
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Russia's government has put on hold co-financing development of an enlarged Sukhoi Superjet 100 variant in preference for funding improvements in the aircraft's baseline variant.

Expecting customer interest to move towards larger capacity versions, Sukhoi has assessed a stretched Superjet version featuring a 130-seat passenger cabin.

The airframer's parent company - United Aircraft - is believed to spend annually Rb300 million ($9 million) from internal resources on the project with a view to obtaining additional state funding down the road.

But the ministry of industry and trade has found it more appropriate to allocate budget funds for enhancing marketability of the baseline Superjet 100.

"We've postponed financing work on the stretched variant until 2016," says deputy minister Yuri Slyusar, speaking at a government meeting. "It is necessary to devote all attention to the existing Superjet variant and eliminate its teething troubles."

Slyusar says the government has earmarked around Rb4 billion to help launch the Superjet 100 serial production. "The fate of Russian civil aircraft industry largely depends on success of this programme," he adds. "Our major task now is to make the Superjet appealing to domestic carriers."