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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Sukhoi, UAC Secure More Orders

ReutersFrom left, Fyodorov, French Economy Minister Christine Lagarde, Sobyanin and Pogosyan in a Superjet on Tuesday.
Sukhoi on Tuesday said lessor Avialeasing had firmed up an order for 24 of its Superjet 100 aircraft in a deal worth $715 million.

That took the total number of firm orders for the Superjet to 122, moving it closer to its forecasted tally of 150 by the end of the year, Sukhoi said at the Paris Air Show.

Avialeasing said it was in the final stages of talks with three top Russian carriers to use the Superjet aircraft, which are being developed with Italy's Finmeccanica.

Sukhoi Civil Aircraft president Viktor Subbotin said he was optimistic that Western clients would follow suit in ordering Superjets once the aircraft was established in Russian fleets.

Deliveries will start in 2011, by which time the air transport market would have stabilized, Avialeasing said.

"We're very proud they have selected us for their needs," said Alessandro Franzoni, CEO of the Italy-based Superjet International, a joint venture between Sukhoi Civil Aircraft and Italy's Alenia Aeronautica.

Subbotin said he was optimistic about the prospects of the new airliner despite tightening airline budgets, especially in the regional jet market. The Superjet hopes to successfully compete with firms such as Bombardier and Embraer, which enjoy a near-monopoly in the midrange sector.

Subbotin said he expected that the Superjet's low operating costs and novel maintenance arrangements would persuade airlines to opt for the new plane.

"The crisis has influenced the market, but this aircraft is a long-cycle product planned for the next several decades," he said. "We expect the recession to wane as we ramp up production, and we will enter the market with the perfect 100-seat plane."

Also at the air show, United Aircraft Corporation, Russia's state aerospace holding known as UAC, won an order for 45 airplanes from airline Atlant-Soyuz, while Spain's Gadair European Airlines ordered two jets with an option for two more.

Ilyushin Finance will finance the acquisition of as many as 30 An-148 regional passenger planes and 15 midrange Tu-204s, Atlant-Soyuz said in an e-mailed statement Tuesday without saying how much the deal is worth. Vedomosti reported Tuesday that the order was worth $1.2 billion.

UAC president Alexei Fyodorov said at the air show that development on the firm's MC-21 regional airliner, meant to compete with the Boeing 737 and Airbus 320, would start in 2010 and the aircraft would fly in 2014.

Russia is pinning hopes of a return to airliner exports on the Superjet 100, which made its international air show debut at the Paris event.

"It's now very important that we ramp up production for the start of the recovery," Sukhoi general director Mikhail Pogosyan said.

Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Sobyanin showed the plane off Tuesday to French government officials and boasted that its technology was better than the latest Airbus planes.