Following a board meeting held on November 28th, 2019 chaired by Evgeny Ditrich, Aeroflot has stated its intention to acquire five more Sukhoi Superjet 100 aircraft. To help facilitate the necessary number of regional aircraft in the fleet, the directors voted to lease five new regional Sukhoi Superjet 100s.
While saying that it can postpone the order should it chose to do so Aeroflot would like to have the five new jets before the end of the year.
Russia wanted the Sukhoi Superjet 100 to be a symbol of pride
Aeroflot has been operating the Russian-made Sukhoi Superjet 100 since June 2011 and currently has 49 of them in its fleet. When plans for the Sukhoi Superjet 100 were being drawn up in the early 2000s, Russia was just opening up to the outside world and had a new leader in Vladimir Putin.
Despite a promising start and a handful of the biggest names in aerospace taking part in the project, the Sukhoi Superjet 100 soon started to run into problems.
Aeroflot had no choice but to buy the Superjet 100
Behind the glistening facade and all the headlines touting the planes innovations was the less appealing story of defective parts, missed deadlines and a shortage of engines.
Following the crash of the Superjet 100 in Indonesia on May 9, 2012, during a show flight that left 45 people dead, public trust in the aircraft started to wane. Putin too began to lose interest in the project.
Being the Russian national airline, Aeroflot was required to order the Sukhoi aircraft for its fleet. However, other airlines that had been considering the plane started looking for more trusted alternatives.
The final nail in the Sukhoi Superjet 100 project was the fire that occurred following a hard landing with close to full fuel tanks on the night of May 5th, 2019. After being struck by lightning, the captain of the aircraft decided to return to Moscow and make an emergency landing.
During the hard landing, the landing gear collapsed and fuel spilled, leading to a fire that took the lives of 41 people.
While Aeroflot seems committed to the Sukhoi Superjet 100, the leasing of five new aircraft is nothing more than a move to fill in the gaps.
Aeroflot to open a new hub in Siberia
Other news to come out of the meeting in a statement released by Aeroflot talked about how the Russian carrier expected to see growth in 2020. This increase in passenger traffic is not expected to come from the national flag carrier but low-cost subsidiary Pobeda Airlines.
The Aeroflot Group also intended to increase the size of its fleet, including the above mentioned Sukhoi Superjet 100s with 31 new aircraft taking it to 398 aircraft in total.
Of these new aircraft, the Sheremetyevo – A.S. Pushkin international airport (SVO) based airline is most excited about its new wide-body Airbus A350 aircraft, of which it expects to take delivery of 11 before the end of 2020. As far as operations are concerned Aeroflot is planning to open a new hub at Krasnoyarsk International Airport (KJA) in Siberia.