Domestic Giant: Inside The Sukhoi SSJ100’s Operations

The Sukhoi Superjet 100-95 (SSJ100) took off commercially with Armavia 10 years ago in 2011. Despite reported maintenance and reliability problems and a lack of aftercare support, the aircraft – which uses many Western components – is still heavily used within and from Russia this summer. We check it out.

Azimuth SSJ100
Azimuth is one of nine airline users of the SSJ100 this summer. In fact, its fleet consists only of the type. Photo: Dmitry Terekhov via Wikimedia.

The SSJ100

Holding up to 108 passengers in a high-density economy class layout, the SSJ100 (code: SU9) exists in the same or similar market space as the Antonov 158, Embraer 190, CRJ-1000, and A220-100.

It is a replacement for the Tupelov 134 and Yak-42 in Russia, and it could in theory also replace Western regional jets such as the Fokker 100 and Avros, especially with very keen pricing. However, this would be undermined by the lack of maintenance support and reliability constraints. As a result, in an airline sense, it will remain extremely focused on its motherland.

Aeroflot transferred many SSJ100s to subsidiary Rossiya to operate them on its behalf. Photo: Anna Zvereva via Wikimedia.

Which airlines are operating the SSJ100?

This summer, nine Russian airlines are using the SSJ100 on a scheduled basis. Between them, they have 5.7 million round-trip seats fully to, from, and within the country, based on examining schedules supplied to data experts OAG. This seat capacity is up by 15% over pre-pandemic summer 2019, despite Mexico’s (now defunct) Interjet using the type in that period. The airlines are:

  1. Rossiya (for Aeroflot): approximately 1.8 million round-trip seats
  2. Azimuth: 1.6 million
  3. Red Wings: 598,000
  4. Aeroflot (itself): 540,000
  5. Yamal Airlines: 429,000
  6. IrAero: 406,000
  7. Severstal Aircompany: 254,000
  8. Yakutia: 78,000
  9. Gazpromavia: 48,000

Moscow Sheremetyevo is by far the leading airport to see the SSJ100, with it having significantly less service from the huge city’s other airports. The reason is Aeroflot. This carrier, and Rossiya which operates on its behalf with Aeroflot’s SU IATA code, collectively has four in ten Superjet 100 seats. They are primarily operated from its Sheremetyevo hub.

Red Wings SSJ100
Red Wings mainly uses the SU9 in an all-economy, 100-seat layout. They’re an average of 2.5 years old. Photo: Getty Images

Stay informed: Sign up for our daily and weekly aviation news digests.

Where is it used the most?

This summer, around 94% of the SSJ’s seats are deployed domestically in Russia. This is an increase from 83% in S19, OAG data reveals, unhelped by the pandemic. Nonetheless, the SSJ100 is (and will very likely always be) very much a domestic machine.

Its top-10 routes, shown below, are all from Moscow Sheremetyevo and all by Aeroflot/Rossiya. This is despite the aircraft operating over 300 domestic routes this summer across the vast country.

  1. Moscow Sheremetyevo to Nizhny Novgorod
  2. Sheremetyevo-Chelyabinsk
  3. Sheremetyevo-Nizhekamsk
  4. Sheremetyevo-Arkhangelsk
  5. Sheremetyevo-Volgograd
  6. Sheremetyevo-Izhevsk
  7. Sheremetyevo-Belgorod
  8. Sheremetyevo-Voronezh
  9. Sheremetyevo-Tyumen
  10. Sheremetyevo-Orenburg
IrAero SSJ100
While none of IrAero’s SSJ100 routes feature in the top-10, it mainly deploys them this summer to Simferopol. Photo: Getty Images.

International network to Europe

A few years ago, the author flew an Aeroflot SSJ100 from Oslo to Moscow Sheremetyevo. Despite being just 1,000 miles (exactly 1,000 according to GCMap), it departed shortly before midnight (!) and arrived in Russia around 04:30 local time because of the time difference. The author then connected to an Aeroflot Ilyushin 96 bound for Istanbul Atatürk.

SSJ100 in the air
At the time of writing, these SSJs are all in the air. They include SU2210 heading to Stockholm from Sheremetyevo, seen over Estonia. Image:

Oslo isn’t scheduled to see the SSJ this summer, but the likes of Budapest, Helsinki, Ljubljana, Minsk, Riga, Stockholm Arlanda, Warsaw, Yerevan, and Zagreb all are. The inclusion of Yerevan provides a reminder of Armavia, the launch customer of the Russian-built aircraft.

Have you flown the SSJ100? If so, share your experiences with us in the comments.