No more Superjet100 for Interjet?
The last remaining international operator of Russian Superjet 100 planes is looking to get rid of them from its fleet of 22. Russian authorities claim that decision has nothing to do with the Aeroflot accident in which 41 people died in May 2019.
Mexican airline Interjet, which is the only remaining non-Russian operator of Superjet 100, is reportedly giving up on the aircraft type, previously known as Sukhoi SSJ 100, Russian business daily Vedomosti reported on August 23, 2019.
Interjet is looking to sell “as much as possible” of its Superjet 100 aircraft, is written in the publication, which quotes three sources familiar with the matter. It is likely the sale would include 14 or 21 of the aircraft, as part of Interjet’s Superjet 100s fleet were “cannibalized” ‒ scrapped for parts to repair other aircraft. The reason for sale is allegedly the difficult financial condition of Interjet.
This is hardly the first time reports that Interjet wants to oust the Superjet 100 from its fleet emerge ‒ similar news has emerged throughout the past year, usually also pointing out the the everlasting maintenance problems and the airline’s inability to pay associated costs.
Interjet’s Superjet 100 problems
Interjet ordered Superjet 100s back in 2011, praising the Russian airliner for lower than competitors’ prices at the time. However, its operation history was far from the initial fascination, as it was plagued by a series of maintenance issues resulting in prolonged groundings of the aircraft.
Interjet has 22 Superjet 100s in its fleet. Despite being of an average age of 5.5 years, only six of them are flying. It is understood that the airline is unable to pay for needed repairs of the airliners, which has led to the grounding of the better part of the fleet.
In the first quarter of 2019, Interjet reported a 6.5% increase in operating expenses. While it is mainly attributable to higher fuel costs, the airline has highlighted that its SSJ100 fleet is also part of the problem: “Also, the amount in expenses is reflecting the gradual lag of operations of the SSJ100 fleet,” as noted in the airline’s financial report.
Superjet’s accidents and incidents
On August 19, 2019, Interjet Superjet 100 (registration number XA-DAS) was involved in an incident after both air conditioning packs on the aircraft failed, Aviation Herald reported. The airliner was performing flight 4O2119 from Monterrey to Mexico City, where it landed safely. The aircraft was returned to service.
On May 5, 2019, Aeroflot Superjet-100 (registered RA-89098) was to operate flight SU1492 to Murmansk, northern Russia. Some 30-minutes into the flight, after losing contact with air traffic controllers, pilots turned back to Moscow to make an emergency landing in Sheremetyevo International Airport (SVO). However, the landing did not go according to plan: the plane bounced off the runway a first time before landing hard on its main landing gear. The gear collapsed and the engines met the runway, immediately catching fire. Forty-one people died and eleven were injured in the accident.
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