Suhkoi To Market SJ100 As A Private Jet With New VIP Edition

Russia’s Sukhoi is marketing it’s Superjet 100 to a new audience: VIP and corporate customers. The manufacturer plans to modify its existing SSJ100s to serve as private jets for the rich and famous willing to buy them. So what changes is the manufacturer planning for this regional jet?

Sukhoi Superjet 100
Sukhoi is planning to reconfigure its SSJ100 as a private jet. Photo: UAC Russia

New mission

According to Airway, Russia’s Minister of Trade and Industry, Denis Manturov, announced plans for a corporate SSJ100 in Abu Dhabi this week. The reconfigured aircraft will see the addition of sharklets to its wings, providing more range and better aerodynamic efficiency, as well as additional fuel tanks.

Discussing the timeline and demand for the SSJ-VIP version, Mr. Manturov said,

“A demonstration plane will appear in the second half. I think there will be a sufficient number of people interested in this version, because the cost-benefit is very competitive.”

Sukhoi Superjet SSJ100
The first test model of the SSJ-VIP could be flying by the second half of 2021. Photo: UAC Russia

The decision to make a VIP version of the SSJ100 might come as a surprise since it has been marketed as a regional jet. The aircraft offers a range of 1,646 or 2,472 nautical miles depending on the variant (standard or LR). However, once the sharklets, extra fuel tanks, and other changes are made, the aircraft will have a greater range.

Additionally, VIP jets usually carry a fraction of the passengers a commercial aircraft does, further reducing weight and improving range. This means the SSJ could well make a viable private jet if all goes to plan at Sukhoi.

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Price and competition

While no price has been announced for the SSJ-VIP, officials have already alluded to the lower cost of this plane compared to the competition. A standard SSJ100 currently costs just over $50 million at list price, which means we can expect the VIP variant to be in a similar range or possibly lower.

It’s unclear whether the SSJ-VIP is trying to compete with smaller private jets or converted business jets like the Airbus ACJ and Boeing BBJ series. Photo: Airbus

While the current range of the SSJ-VIP is unknown, we could expect it to compete with private jets like the Embraer Praetor 500 or Legacy 500 in terms of range (roughly 3,200mn). Both of these aircraft cost much less ($16-18mn) than a standard SSJ100 but also seat far fewer passengers (depending on the configuration).

However, the SSJ-VIP could also try and compete with the recently-announced larger A220ACJ. Since the SSJ100 is already an established jet, it could be looking to pry away market share from Airbus and Boeing.

Market growing

It’s clear that Sukhoi is trying to take advantage of the growing demand for private jets. The pandemic has pushed many of those considering flying private over commercial to take the leap due to the higher exposure. While this still only represents a tiny group of travelers, it is enough to help luxury jet operators in the last year.

Private Jet
Those with the means have flocked to taking private jet flights over commercial ones in the last year. Photo: Getty Images

The coming months will provide more details about the price, range, and configuration of the SSJ-VIP. Considering the market right now, the Superjet could see demand from many customers.

What do you think about the future of a private Superjet? Let us know in the comments!