Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) is planning to launch an airline flying from the Crimea, using up to six Sukhoi SuperJet 100 (SSJ100) airliners. The plan came to light over the weekend and is seen as a provocation in Ukraine and elsewhere. The airline is yet unnamed.
The airline would be based in Simferopol and fly to 14 locations in Russia, with another 22 destinations named as a possibility. Half a million passengers in the first year of operation is a feasible number, according to UAC. Investment costs are said to be around 24 million USD.
By using Russian made planes, the airline will not run into trouble caused by international sanctions against Russia over the annexation of the Crimea in 2014. The Sukhoi SSJ100 was developed however, in cooperation with Italian aircraft manufacturer Alenia Aermacchi.
The type first flew on 19 May 2008 and entered service with three years later with Aeroflot. Since, the SSJ100 was ordered mostly by Russian carriers like Red Wings. A Letter of Intent for four aircraft – and ten more options – was signed by Belgian carrier VLM Airline.
Delivery of the Belgian aircraft has been delayed until late 2016, as the type is not certified by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) yet. Under current sanctions, the question is wether that will change soon.
© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image: The Sukhoi Superjet 100 (Image © Sukhoi)