Moscow - Sukhoi has been fronting increasing criticism from its customers because of the insufficient aftersales support for its regional jetliner SSJ100.
Interjet and Brussels Airlines, the two major international operators of the aircraft, have expressed their dissatisfaction with the maintenance of their fleets. Interjet recently revealed its intention to resell its all SSJ100s in the fleet to the manufacturer. Brussel Airlines announced that it withdrew from further wet-leasing of the aircraft. In Russia, Yakutia Airlines complained about the similar issueso as well.
The major maintenance problems of the Sukhoi Superjets originate from its engines. The SaM146 engines used in the aircraft are produced by PowerJet, a joint venture between French Safran and Russian UEC-Saturn. The manufacturer does not supply replacement engines as the backup in case of engine outages.
The customers have to ground their SSJ100s each time a failure with the engines identified. The backup engine opportunity is only offered to Russian flag carrier Aeroflot within its PBH (power-by-the-hour) program. Other customers did not prefer this option because of its cost, Sukhoi claims.
To resolve complains, Sukhoi and United Engine Corporation (UEC) now offers a solution with support of Russia’s ministry for industry and trade.
Sukhoi and UEC will establish a pool from engines waiting to be installed on new aircraft. Some of these engines will be rented to the operators as replacement engine while the main driver goes to the hangar for maintenance.
Sukhoi has also announced that it was revising its delivery plans to concentrate on aftersales support. Delivering aircraft to be later grounded due to lack of spare parts and engines, doesn’t make any sense, agrees Alexander Rubtsov, the President of Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Corporation.
On the other hand, In response to recent complaints made public by Interjet, Russian manufacturer has proposed significant improvements for the SSJ100s operated by the Mexican operator to improve their operational efficiency by equipping them with the newly designed winglets and expanding their passenger capacity to more than 100 seats.
Interjet is the largest customer of Sukhoi Superjet outside Russia with 22 SSJ100 in service and 18 on order.