Western European airlines helping with the development of the Sukhoi-led Russian Regional Jet (RRJ) have demanded changes to the aircraft's initial design. The RRJ airline council - whose members include Air France and Scandinavian Airlines - was formed in November and held a meeting last week, but several European carriers have sought changes. Sukhoi plans to fly the first aircraft in early 2006.

The airlines have urged Sukhoi not to "copy the Boeing 737", and follow a more "technologically advanced" path. They also want the aircraft to be optimised for 1,000-2,000km (540-1,100nm) sectors, as opposed to Sukhoi's 4,000-5,000km target, and a lower empty weight. In addition, the airlines want operating cost savings compared with existing regional aircraft to be better than the 15% currently promised.


Source: Flight International