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Interjet compensated for SSJ100 maintenance costs

Mexican carrier Interjet received Ps733 million ($39.6 million) in compensation for maintenance costs for its Sukhoi Superjet 100 fleet, after the airline was forced to ground at least four SSJ100s in the past year or so.

The airline says the amount, recorded in its second quarter financial results, is an estimate of contractual recovery of the costs related to maintenance of its SSJ100s.

Interjet recorded maintenance-related expenses of Ps652 million in the second quarter, as part of overall operating expenses that rose 21% in the period to Ps6.18 billion. It notes that the compensation of Ps733 million had helped offset its expenses.

The airline did not respond to queries from FlightGlobal. Sukhoi and Superjet International did not respond.

A report by Bloomberg earlier this year said that Interjet had grounded four SSJ100s and was cannibalising the aircraft for parts to keep its remaining SSJ100 fleet in service. Superjet International subsequently played this down, with its senior vice-president of commercial Stewart Cordner telling FlightGlobal in January: "Temporary robbing of parts isn't cannibalism."

Interjet currently has a fleet of 22 SSJ100s, one of which is still in storage, Flight Fleets Analyzer shows. That lone aircraft, XA-PBA, sustained significant damage to its nose after an accident involving an air bridge at Mexico City airport in 2015. Delivered to Interjet in April 2014, the aircraft has spent about 65% of its lifetime in storage.

The grounding reported earlier this year followed weeks-long repairs in early 2017 to 11 of Interjet's SSJ100s, after defects were found on the aircraft's stabiliser nodes.

Despite the compensation for maintenance costs, the impact of higher fuel prices pushed Interjet to an operating loss of Ps395 million in the second quarter. Revenue rose 9.6% to Ps5.78 billion. The airline reported a net loss of Ps142 million in the second quarter, reversing from a net profit of Ps114 million in the corresponding quarter in 2017.

Unit revenue in the second quarter was down 4.7% to Ps1.047, while unit cost excluding fuel was down 11.2% to Ps0.695.

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