SuperJet International (SJI) expects the Latin American region to require around 700 airliners in the Sukhoi Superjet 100's category, and is confident that upgrades and sales initiatives in the pipeline will ensure it can capture a proportion of that market.

"We see a market from this region for 700 90-120-seaters over the next 20 years," SJI chief executive Stefano Marazzani told FlightGlobal at the ALTA Airline Leaders Forum in Buenos Aires. The Italy-based marketing arm aims to build on the existing fleet of 22 Superjet 100s (plus eight orders) with Mexico's Interjet.

Marazzani says that testing of a winglet upgrade for the 95-seater will begin soon.

"The Sukhoi engineers have dubbed these 'sabrelets' because of their shape. The first set is being installed, and testing will begin at Zhukovsky before year-end," he says.

The prime purpose of the winglets is to enable a reduction in approach operating speeds to enable the aircraft to serve the restricted runway at the downtown London City Airport, says Marazzani.

In parallel, work is under way to provide more attractive acquisition methods for the SSJ100, says Marazzani.

"In the next months we will be able to offer more clear and efficient financial packages, also thanks to our Russian shareholders who are working a lot on that," he says. "This involves [state transport leasing company] GTLK, the Russian lessor that has a big participation of the Russian federation."

Marazzani says that as the Latin American economic recovery improves he sees prospects for more Superjet customers in the region. "We have a lot of talks in progress with airlines. We don't see the possibility in the really short term, the next 12-24 months, but [for] the longer prospect – five years – we expect the possibility to have customers."

Source: Flight Daily News