Rostec considers rebranding Superjet 100 again
Superjet 100 makers might finally be coming to terms with the questionable reputation of the airliner: previously plagued with maintenance problems, the aircraft made headlines earlier in 2019 after a crash in Moscow that claimed 41 lives. Rostec is considering a name change for the SSJ100.
“As for rebranding, maybe it really needs to be done,” Sergei Chemezov, the head of Rostec, told RBC, adding that the new brand could also be a Russian name. Rostec, Russian state-owned conglomerate, owns United Aircraft Building Corporation (UAC).
If carried through, this would be the second renaming of the jetliner within the year. In November 2018, UAC transferred the shares of its subsidiary Sukhoi Civil Aircraft (SCAS) to another subsidiary, Irkut Corporation. The move was accompanied by a minor name change of the aircraft ‒ from Sukhoi Superjet 100 to Superjet 100.
Chemezov is also quoted in a publication stating that all Russian civilian aircraft are currently unprofitable. The losses generated are covered by UAC at the expense of its military production.
Superjet 100, the first passenger aircraft built in Russia after the collapse of Soviet Union, is known for its struggle to find ‒ and keep ‒ international clients. In February 2019, CityJet, the last European operator to have Sukhoi Superjet 100 in its fleet, has returned the aircraft to the owner, reportedly due to a huge lack of spare parts, which caused long groundings of the aircraft. The manufacturer denied that the decision was related to maintenance problems.
In August 2019, news emerged that Mexican airline Interjet, the only remaining non-Russian operator of Superjet 100, was also looking to outs the type from its fleet. Similar reports have been emerging throughout the past year, usually also pointing out the everlasting maintenance problems and the airline’s inability to pay associated costs.
On May 5, 2019, Aeroflot Superjet 100 crash landed in Sheremetyevo International Airport (SVO), Moscow. The plane, carrying 73 passengers and five crew members, caught on fire during the emergency landing. Forty-one people were killed and eleven injured. Preliminary report by Russian authorities suggests pilot error as the main cause of the accident.
A day after the accident, Yamal Airlines announced canceling the previously planned purchase of ten SSJ100s, denying that the decision was related to safety concerns and are quoting high maintenance costs instead.
However, now, also speaking with RBC, Chemezov revealed that Aeroflot is planning to purchase 22 SSJ100s. The aircraft are part of a pre-order signed in 2018, which involved options for a 100 Superjets. Aeroflot is the be the biggest Superjet 100 operator in the world, as it has 49 aircraft of the type in its fleet, based on planespotters.net data. That is a little under half of all active Superjet 100-95s, currently standing at 123 aircraft globally.
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