Radical restructuring of the Russian Superjet programme is in progress, with talks having started between partners Alenia Aermacchi and Sukhoi.

Describing the discussions as "preliminary", Alenia chief operating officer, business, Ugo Vinti says both parties recognise that the business model "needs to be adapted to the current phase of the programme".

"In order to produce [Superjet] in volumes and sell it internationally we strongly believe that we need a slightly different business model," he says. "We are currently discussing with our partner the opportunity to change the business model of the programme."

Alenia sees its ATR joint venture with EADS for regional turboprop production as the ideal template for the new entity, says Vinti, noting that key responsibilities such as programme management, sales and marketing and support are devolved to the business.

No decision has yet been taken on how the proposed company would be structured, but Vinti says the outcome must be the creation of "a real international entity" to look after the project worldwide. Alongside programme support functions this could also take responsibility for final assembly, he says.

All aircraft are presently produced and assembled in Russia by Sukhoi Civil Aircraft, which is part-owned by Alenia. The Italian company additionally handles the marketing and interior completion of aircraft destined for Western customers through the Superjet International joint venture in which it holds a 51% stake.

Alenia does not produce any components for the regional jet, but may leverage its composite manufacturing know-how for future models.

Neither side is in "any rush" to force through the change, says Vinti, "because clearly we are two partners and we need to find a solution that makes everybody happy".

No changes would be made to the industrial content or workshare on the Superjet 100, says Vinti, and alterations to Alenia's 25% share in Sukhoi Civil Aircraft are not part of the talks.

Source: FlightGlobal.com