The Russian-made jet was billed as being the perfect regional jet but nearly a decade after it first entered service, it doesn’t appear to have lived up to expectations
The first all-new commercial aircraft to be developed in post-Soviet Russia, the Sukhoi Superjet had the potential to do great things but has since fallen short of expectations being described by the Moscow Times as a “national disappointment” following a series of fatal crashes involving the type.
Development of the Superjet began in the early 2000s when after analysing the market, the manufacturer identified a need for an aircraft with a range of between 1,900 and 2,800 miles, greater than typical regional jets owing to the country’s geography.
There was much excitement about the creation of what was intended to be the perfect regional jet for the not just Russian aviation market, but the world.
At the time, Mikhail Pogosyan, head of the Sukhoi Design Bureau claimed the narrowbody would be able to compete with the titans of the regional market segment such as Bombardier and Embraer. United Aircraft Corporation, the state-run owners of the design unit, planned to sell 300 aircraft to airlines around the world.
The majority of operators originate in the Russian Federation and its allies including Kazakhstan and Mexico. The odd one out in the list is Seraph Aviation, which is an Irish aircraft management firm which leased the six aircraft on its roster to CityJet until February 2019 when the carrier returned the jets reportedly due to a lack of spare parts that forced long periods of grounding.
So, who else actually still uses them?