First flight of the Sukhoi Superjet 100 regional jet has slipped into early 2008, according a report by Russian business news agency Prime-Tass. The 95-seat aircraft was planned to fly by the end of 2007.

A delay was expected after flight tests of the Superjet's Snecma/Saturn SaM146 engine on an Ilyushin Il-76 flying testbed began later than scheduled.

Prime-Tass quotes Sukhoi Civil Aircraft's spokesperson as confirming the first flight has been delayed slightly, but providing no timeline for the maiden flight from Sukhoi's KnAAPO assembly plant in Komsomolsk-on-Amur.

Superjet was rolled out in September

Russian news agency RIA Novosti, meanwhile, is reporting that the SaM146 has completed the first phase of flight tests on the Il-76LL testbed. The agency quotes Saturn general director Yury Lastochkin as saying the tests were a success.

Testing of the engine on board the Il-76LL operated by the LII Gromov flight research institute began on 6 December from the Zhukovsky test centre outside Moscow. The tests were planned to begin in September

A second campaign of flights is planned for summer 2008 at Snecma's test centre in Istres, France. Certification of the engine and the aircraft are planned for 2008, with the Superjet scheduled to be delivered to launch customer Aeroflot by year-end.