Armenian airline Armavia the launch customer of the 100 seat Sukhoi Superjet-100 airliner has decided it’s no longer going to fly the type.
On July 9, 2012, Armavia cancelled its order for a second Sukhoi Superjet 100 but did not give reasons for the cancellation. Russian media have reported that Aeroflot’s fleet has been plagued by technical difficulties. The reported that Aeroflot had asked Sukhoi for compensation because the six Superjet 100s it operated were in the air for only 3.9 hours per day on average instead of the standard 8 to 9 hours because of Breakdowns, technical problems and delayed delivery of parts. In March, for example, all superjets were grounded while landing gear system were modified after an incident at Moscow airport.
In May, one flew into the side of Mount Salak in Indonesia killing 45 people during a demonstration flight in May. Amongst the passengers were representatives from Aviastar Mandiri, Batavia Air, Pelita Air Service and Sriwijaya Air. The crash was attributed to human error.
At this year’s Farnborough Air Show in July, with the Indonesian incident fresh in buyer’s minds. Sukhoi did not conclude any contracts. They did announce that Interjet of Mexico upgraded their to an order. The company hopes to have orders for 210 planes soon. This is far short of the 1000 plane target set by the company. The Sukhoi Superjet 100 is intended to to compete internationally with Embraer and Bombardier. The manufacturer claims 6 to 8 per cent lower operating costs and a lower purchase price of $35 million than its two competitors. The plane is intended to replace the Tupolev Tu-134 and Yakovlev Yak-42 aircraft. Most of the purchasers of the craft are Russian airlines or smaller Asian carriers such as Lao Central Airlines and Orient Thai Airlines.
This week, Armavia announced they will return their only remaining Sukhoi Superjet 100 to the manufacturer, citing reliability concerns: “The plane is not bad, but not perfect. Airbuses and Boeings fly 330-350 hours per month, while the Sukhoi spent only 150 hours flying, “ RBC daily quotes a source close to Armavia. “The last straw was it spent four days clearing customs in Russia to have a two-day service. But Armavia warned Sukhoi in July that it will under no circumstances use the plane” says the source.“Armavia is a small company and cannot afford experimenting and Sukhoi has already returned the money paid for the plane excluding the $1 million servicing fee,”