Superjet goes through it paces as Sukhoi civil stake goes to Alenia

Tuesday saw Italy's Alenia Aeronautica and Russia’s Sukhoi Civil Aircraft closed a deal on the purchase of 25 % plus one share in Sukhoi Civil Aircraft - the manufacturer of the Superjet 100.

Sukhoi Civil Aircraft and Alenia Aeronautica closed the long-expected deal on board of a not less awaited plane – the Sukhoi Superjet 100. The cheque shows the cost of the deal – $183 million.

The Head of the Sukhoi corporation says this is an unprecedented example cooperation in Russian aviation. Russian Minister of Industry and Trade, Viktor Khristenko says international cooperation is essential if the Superjet 100 is to become a global competitor.

“Modern reality requires international cooperation. The market has become global. Only with international cooperation, when all the risks are shared, can a plane could be promoted to the market. Superjet-100 follows this logic. It can be and will be sold on the global market.”

The Italians are ready to contribute not only to the Superjet-100 project, but to Russia's aviation industry as a whole, according to Finmeccanica CEO, Pier Francesco Guarguaglini.

“We are bringing our know-how into the project. We are also planning to introduce composite technologies. When we build a plant for composite materials in Russia, we will be able to deliver them not only for aviation, but also for the helicopter industry.”

Meanwhile the Superjet-100 is almost ready to takeoff. A truly international creation, the Superjet 100 has Russian-French made engines which now are being thoroughly examined.

The final hurdle for the Superjet 100 is certification of the engines. The checkup is carried out at an open test ground, to comply with European, American and Russian standards leading to clearance for series production. Specialists are testing the engines simulating possible weather conditions, like heavy wind, snow and hail.

Sukhoi Civil Aircraft, CEO, Mikhail Pogosyan says full-scale production of the plane has not yet started, but the company is already loaded with orders.

“We have 30 orders from Aeroflot, 20 from Superjet International, and a number of European companies, and we have orders from Armenian Armavia.”

Deliveries will start this year. And in early 2010, the Superjet-100 will finally take its first passengers to the sky.