LATEST UPDATE 25 MARCH 2014 | Fans of the quite good looking Sukhoi Superjet 100 SSJ commercial airliner had to take a step back this week, when three aircraft of the type in great airworthy condition were not allowed to leave their nest. Due to financial difficulties its operator, Sky Aviation Indonesia, was forced to suspend all flying activities on 19 March 2014 until it finds new investors.
Sky Aviation signed a contract for a dozen SSJ 100s in 2012, at a price of US$380 million, becoming the launch customer for the Sukhoi aircraft in Southeast Asia. The plan was to first lease and then buy the aircraft after ten years.
Although Sky hopes to restart flying in April, the current grounding is not great for the Russian civilian aircraft manufacturers, the Sukhoi design bureau and international partner Alenia Aermacchi in Italy. According to Russian sources at least six other SSJ 100s were taken out of service recently when their airliner filed for bankruptcy or heads in that direction. With Sky Aviation that adds another 3 SSJ 100s and an additional 9 that might never make it to Indonesia.
Fortunately it’s not all bad, with six SSJ 100s flying successfully with Mexican Interjet and a dozen with Russian Aeroflot. Moreover, the first of two SSJ100s has been leased to Russian Centre-South Airlines.
© 2014 AIRheads’ editor Marcel Burger