Sukhoi to discuss Chinese tie-up on Superjet

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Sukhoi’s civil aircraft division is giving away few details about a tentative agreement with Chinese customers which could lead to large orders for its Superjet 100.

The memorandum of understanding amounts to an “agreement to discuss this issue”, says the airframer, although it acknowledges that it covers topics including possible orders for up to 100 jets and localisation of certain production elements.

“It is not a contract or a firm order,” says a spokeswoman for Sukhoi Civil Aircraft.

She adds that the details – particularly any establishment of a new production site – have yet to be fully negotiated.

But she says China is “one of the most promising markets” for the Superjet. The twinjet is typically configured with around 95 seats and exclusively fitted with PowerJet SaM146 engines.

She says a signature with the Chinese is an “important stage” in promoting the aircraft to the country.

“It may form a basis for further detailed research of possible directions of co-operation,” she adds.

China has been trying to create its own regional jet, the Comac ARJ21, but the programme has been beset by delays.

Sukhoi says China is interested not only in acquiring new aircraft but implementing large-scale agreements to develop its local aviation infrastructure via offset programmes.

“We, in turn, are interested in entry into the Chinese market in terms of establishment of customisation and after-sale support centres,” the spokeswoman adds.

China Daily had reported that a firm identified as Henan-based O-Bay Aircraft was among the Chinese companies party to the agreement. Sukhoi declines to identify the Chinese firms involved.

But the report added that the pact would cover an assembly line for Superjet components to be operational in 2018.