Russia has moved a step closer to reviving its civil aviation industry with the long awaited maiden test flight of the Sukhoi Superjet-100. The company says it flew for 40 minutes reaching a height of 1,200 metres. It is the first new passenger plane to be built there since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Sukhoi’s boss Viktor Subbotin said it matches up to the big boys: “Passenger comfort – the size of the seats and the width of the aisles – is as good as the smaller aircraft made by companies like Boeing or Airbus, Passengers won’t notice any difference between their planes and ours.”
The Superjet-100 is intended to compete not with Boeing or Airbus but with regional jets made by Brazil’s Embraer and Bombardier of Canada. It can carry 75 to 100 passengers, has a range of 4,400 kilometres and each plane will sell for 19 million euros.
Sukhoi has jointly developed the aircraft with Boeing and has a deal with Italian aerospace firm Finmeccanica to provide after-sales service and support.
It hopes to sell at least 800 planes with production of 60 to 70 each year by 2010. So far Sukhoi has firm orders for about 73 of the aircraft almost all from Russian companies including Aeroflot.