With their only engine supplier having stopped the repair and maintenance of their aircraft, several Russian airlines operating the Sukhoi Superjet 100 warn that they may soon need to be grounded.
In a letter seen by local media RBK, IrAero, an airline based in Irkutsk, Russia, warned the regional authorities that Russian air carriers operating the indigenous Sukhoi Superjet 100 aircraft may not be able to fly it for long. The management of three more Russian airlines voiced similar concerns, with one saying it could be forced to stop using the Superjet from fall 2022.
International sanctions imposed on Russia following the invasion of Ukraine mean that repair and maintenance of the SaM146 engines cannot be ensured. In late March 2022, PowerJet, the Russian-French manufacturer of the SaM146 engines, said it would suspend its engine maintenance and repair services.
The fleets of Russia’s three largest airlines are mainly comprised of Airbus and Boeing manufactured aircraft. But both Boeing and Airbus stopped servicing Russian aircraft, namely halting parts provision, maintenance, and technical support services. Foreign lessors, having canceled contracts and demanded the return of their assets, could seize the aircraft if they were to fly out of Russia.
Thus, Russia decided to revive domestic aircraft programs, such as the Soviet-era Ilyushin Il-96 and the Tupolev Tu-214, as well as put more effort into the Sukhoi Superjet 100. The 150 Superjets currently in operation, mainly with Aeroflot and its two subsidiaries Rossiya and Red Wings, were expected to fly international routes to avoid being seized.