Sukhoi hopes to obtain orders from two Western leasing companies for its Superjet 100 regional aircraft, after securing its first Western customer for the type last month.

The airframer signed its first Western order for the PowerJet SaM146-powered Superjet at the Paris air show in June, after Italian carrier ItAli Airlines signed up for 10 of the twinjets and placed options for 10 more.

PowerJet is a joint venture between Russia's NPO Saturn and Snecma of France. Snecma commercial engines vice-president and general manager Jean-Pierre Cojan says: "We have very concrete discussions with at least two Western leasing companies."

He declines to comment on the size of the potential orders or specify in which countries the lessors are based.

Cojan adds that the advisory board of airlines set up to help the aircraft's marketing efforts with Western carriers is "continuing to make progress".

Lufthansa's decision to join might not signal a forthcoming order, he says, but it is "helping to increase the momentum".

Orders currently stand at 71 and more Russian deals are expected soon. "I expect we could pass 100 orders by the end of the year, or not long after," says Cojan.

Sukhoi's ItAli Airlines deal, which the manufacturer values at $283 million, took the total tally of firm orders for the twinjet to 71.

Source: Flight International