Superjet works to firm up product strategy for stretched aircraft

By Lori Ranson

Superjet International's preference for expansion of the Sukhoi Superjet 100 product line is an aircraft stretch with maximum commonality with the current baseline version.

Company chief executive officer Alessandro Franzoni says currently Superjet is working hard to "properly size" the stretched version of the aircraft, noting a larger degree of commonality is less expensive, and also allows for an accelerated entry into the market.

The baseline seat configuration for the Superjet 100 is 95 seats, with a stretched variant handling roughly 20 additional seats.

Speaking recently at the US Regional Airline Association convention Franzoni says that Superjet International will clarify its short-term plan for a stretch after holding discussions with customers.

A stretch would not require changes in thrust levels of the Powerjet Sam146 engine powering the aircraft, and analysis shows no changes to the landing gear are necessary either, says Superjet International senior vice president commercial Paolo Beaumont.

Franzoni says the company "hopes to be able to make an announcement soon", regarding a stretched variant as Superjet needs to gather input from customers for its board to use in the decision-making process.

Assessing one of the Superjets' potential competitors, Superjet International executives do not see the ARJ21 built by China's AVIC 1 Commercial Aircraft generating strong sales outside the Chinese market. That results in a heightened challenge for other aircraft manufacturers to gains sales traction in that region, "including us", says Superjet.

Superjet International is a joint venture between Alenia and Sukhoi that handles marketing and sales of the aircraft.

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