Russia to examine new 130-seat project next year

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Russia's trade and industry ministry is stressing that it has yet to decide the nature of a new aircraft to address the 130-seat sector, but it remains keen on participating in the market.

While the ministry referred earlier this year to a project designated the Superjet 130NG, it will not necessarily involve a stretch of the Sukhoi Superjet 100.

"It is not the Superjet, and it is not the 'Next Generation'," said deputy trade minister Yuri Slusar, emphasising that the effort is aimed at trying to fill a distinct niche in the 130-seat sector "through unification of the existing product range".

He said this included onboard systems and after-sales support already selected for the Superjet as well as the Irkut MS-21.

"At this moment, we cannot afford to sell totally different aircraft with their vastly differing vendors, suppliers and systems, entailing differences in crew training and contents of warehouses," added Slusar.

But he pointed out that the 130-seat sector appeared attractive and insisted that rival aircraft, such as the Bombardier CSeries, cannot meet the demand alone.

"In the first quarter of 2013, we will take a look at what sort of aircraft we might produce and [if one is required] how many airframes we can sell and at what price," said Slusar. "At this point, there is no certainty. The project is at the preliminary development phase."

Initial indications had pointed to a possible Superjet stretch featuring composite wings and new powerplants.