Italian manufacturer in talks with Sukhoi Civil Aircraft to buy a ‘more than 10%’ stake in design bureau’s programme

ATR’s Italian partner Alenia Aeronautica is in talks with Sukhoi Civil Aircraft (SCAC) to assume a role in the design bureau’s Russian Regional Jet (RRJ) programme. The 75- to 95-seat twinjet family is at a critical phase of its development as SCAC attempts to sign up firm orders to ensure that the project can have a full industrial launch for series production.

Alenia’s parent Finmeccanica confirms that it plans to partner with SCAC as part of its strategy to enter the civil market with a regional jet family. A formal announcement is expected at this week’s MAKS air show in Moscow.

SCAC confirms that negotiations with Alenia began “early this year” and are ongoing. The Italian company is “seeking to buy” a stake in SCAC of “more than 10%”, it adds. A formal agreement could be signed before the end of the year.

The RRJ programme is led by SCAC, but also involves major partners Ilyushin and Yakovlev, as well as Boeing in an advisory role. A number of Western companies are on board as suppliers, including Snecma, which is developing the powerplant in co-operation with NPO Saturn in the Power Jet joint venture.

The first variant is the 95-seat RRJ-95, which SCAC aims to fly in 2007 and begin delivering the following year. Despite signing commitments with Sibir and expecting a deal with Aeroflot, SCAC has not yet signed a firm order with either carrier.

“The RRJ is a new programme with very good potential and a very good market approach,” says Finmeccanica. “We are always in search of joining such aircraft programmes.”

Finmeccanica adds that an industrial participation as the major subcontractor on the 60- to 95-seat aircraft programme has already been fixed, but there are “a lot of other areas in which Alenia could get involved”.

Sukhoi could be interested in tapping into Alenia’s knowledge of advanced structures – it will produce composite fuselage panels for the Boeing 787 – or using its ATR expertise to set up RRJ support and maintenance programmes.


Source: Flight International