Legal disputes spoilt the highly anticipated public debut of a notional VIP cabin concept for the Sukhoi Superjet 100 at MAKS.

The Russian press had reported for weeks that Superjet would unveil the first VIP cabin layout for the regional jet at the show, offering a positive step forward for the underperforming programme.

In the end, however, a Superjet with a VIP cabin interior was on the static display on the first day of the show, but security guards turned away all visitors at the airstairs. After the first day, the Superjet simply went missing from the static display.

A legal dispute had erupted between Sukhoi Civil Aircraft and US company Aeromanagement, which specialises in VIP cabin interiors. Aeromanagement filed a lawsuit against Sukhoi on 22 July, claiming in legal documents that the Russian company was seeking to improperly disclose the former's intellectual property by displaying the interior at MAKS.

A Sukhoi executive admitted to Aeromanagement in a teleconference call on 15 July that the VIP cabin planned to be displayed at MAKS was a copy of a layout design owned by the US company, according to court documents.

Aeromanagement then sued Sukhoi in the US District Court of Southern New York to stop MAKS visitors from being able to see the new VIP cabin interior.

Sukhoi was not scheduled to file a response to Aeromanagement's lawsuit until 9 September.

However, Aeromanagement filed a court notice on 28 August that withdraws its lawsuit against Sukhoi without prejudice. The legal documents do not state a reason for the withdrawal. The case ended on the same day that Sukhoi withdrew the Superjet with the VIP interior from the static display.

Russian defence export organisation Rosoboronexport signed for a VIP Superjet, configured with 19 seats, during the show. Sukhoi says the aircraft is scheduled for delivery this year.

Comlux launched the Superjet VIP conversion programme with an order for two aircraft in October 2011. Comlux plans to outfit the VIP cabins at its new facility in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Source: Flight International