Signing of a shareholder agreement to set up a new China-based lessor for Sukhoi Superjet 100s is scheduled for Moscow's MAKS air show in August, the Russian airframer has disclosed.

Last month, a four-way framework deal was signed by United Aircraft, New Century International Leasing, Russian-Chinese Investment Fund (RCIF) and the province of Xixian’s local management committee. Under the pact, the joint lessor will acquire 100 Superjets – more than twice the number of delivered airframes – over a three-year period.

Speaking to Flightglobal at the Paris air show, Sukhoi Civil Aircraft senior vice-president for sales Evgeny Andrachnikov said the leasing venture formed part of the airframer's plan to be "more aggressive" in its sales push in the coming years.

"We hope to get the leasing company up and running by 2016, start buying aircraft from Sukhoi and leasing them out to Chinese and Asian operators... That's the game plan," he adds.

Andrachnikov says the forecast is that China will require 1,000-1,300 regional jets over the next 20 years, and the target is for the Superjet to capture 10% of that demand.

Asked how confident the airframer is of winning Superjet orders from China, considering the country has its indigenous ARJ21 regional jet which is scheduled to enter into service this year, Andrachnikov says Sukhoi strongly believes in the competitiveness of its product.

"America has Boeing, but Airbus flies everywhere and vice versa; the same for Embraer and Bombardier. It's an open market... We're not afraid of the competition," he says.

He stresses, however, that there are no plans for any Superjet production in China since it "does not make sense" for that nation to be jointly involved in a regional jet when it has the ARJ21. However, he does not rule out a having a Superjet maintenance or completions and delivery centre in the country.

"It's not just about bringing aircraft to the market, but also how you're going to bring it. What instruments to use to make the project appealing… We're looking to approach individual airlines in China and Southeast Asia, but decided to set up a platform to make ourselves much more visible with a leasing company," he adds.

Source: Cirium Dashboard