US leasing firms orders new Russian regional jets in a deal that could be worth $300 Mln

Thursday, September 2, 2010

US leasing firms orders 6 Russia’s Superjets

MOSCOW — Producers of Russia’s new regional passenger aircraft, the Sukhoi Superjet, said Thursday that a leading U.S. leasing firm has committed to buy six aircraft and has an option for four more.

Superjet International and Willis Lease Finance Corporation signed a memorandum of understanding for the purchase of six aircraft and an option for a further four. The deal could be worth up to $300 million, Superjet International said.

The jet, which seats 75 to 95 people, has a range of about 4,000 kilometers (2,500 miles) and is priced at $29 million a piece.

The first delivery of the 98-seat configuration jet is expected in September 2012.

Willis Lease, based in Novato, California, leases out commercial jet engines.

The deal will mark the first U.S. purchase of Superjet, produced by Russian airline maker Sukhoi in association with Italy’s Alenia Aeronautica.

Sukhoi has orders for 161 aircraft from airlines across the world and at home where Russia’s biggest carrier Aeroflot — which has ordered 30 aircraft — recently withdrew its Soviet-era Tu-154 fleet from service.

Superjet, the first passenger plane built by Russia since the Soviet collapse, has been widely considered as Russia’s chance to gain a foothold in the international passenger airline market.

Superjet is designed to compete against other regional craft such as the Embraer E-Jets and the Bombardier CRJ program. Locally, it will replace Russia’s aging fleet of Soviet-designed Tu-134s and Yak-42s in moving people across Russia’s vast spaces.

Superjet’s engine has already been certified by Russian and EU authorities for service on regional jet aircraft, but it still needs additional Federal Aviation Administration certification to be sold in the United States and Canada.

Sukhoi expects that the plane itself will be certified in October in Russia. The company has not given a timeline for EU and US plane certification yet.

will not be displayed