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FARNBOROUGH: Customer support key to Superjet sales – Sukhoi

Sukhoi Civil Aircraft (SCAC) is looking to invest heavily in European customer-support facilities as it seeks to improve its chances of selling more Superjets to airlines outside Russia.

"It is a lesson we have learnt, to make sure that airlines are fully satisfied with our aircraft. This includes training facilities, improved spare-part supplies and MRO facilities," SCAC president Alexander Rubtsov tells FlightGlobal.

He did not specify the countries in which SCAC could invest, but says: "A decision will be made by the end of the year."

Rubtsov adds that these facilities will be part of a larger network that would also support fellow Russian-built commercial aircraft like the Irkut MC-21 and CRAIC CR929 when those are introduced to the market.

Flight Fleets Analyzer shows that if Russia is excluded, Europe has just one Superjet customer: Irish regional carrier CityJet, which has seven in service, including five operated for Brussels Airlines.

However, Rubtsov laments that parts are sourced from outside Russia, which make up 80% of the total, "can be too expensive". The airframer is looking to source more components domestically.

"These are parts where we see room for improvement in weight, performance and in price. We are looking at Russian-made interiors, APUs, wheels and brakes, wiring systems, navigation systems," adds Rubtsov. "Our focus today is on quality, instead of quantity."

Sukhoi's civil aircraft division is forecasting sales of 345 Superjet 100s, including the business-jet version, over the period to 2030.

Most of these aircraft will be sold in Russia and the former Soviet states, the airframer expects, as well as Southeast Asia and Latin America.

Sanctions have been placed on Sukhoi and several other Russian aerospace companies under the USA's "Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act". However, SCAS is not covered by the sanctions and remains upbeat on the Superjet's sales prospects.

Rubtsov says the airframer is "on track" to produce 30-35 aircraft per year.

"The Superjet is built for the global market, because the Russian market is too small. The market requires some level of flexibility in terms of combination of value, comfort, dispatch reliability and customer satisfaction."

This story has been updated to clarify both that the US sanctions do not apply to SCAC and that the five Superjets operating for Brussels Airlines are CityJet aircraft

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