Many airlines have complained about their Sukhoi Superjet 100s being grounded too often because of malfunctions. But how many of the planes are actually unable to take off? aeroTELEGRAPH took a closer look.
In May, Yamal Airlines announced that it would not enlarge its fleet with ten more Sukhoi super jets as previously planned. The regional airline from Northern Siberia did not refer to the fatal accident of an Aeroflot Superjet the day before. Rather, the airline explained that the model’s operating costs exceeded its expectations.
Yamal’s occasional trouble with its 15 existing Superjets is now evident in the airline’s recent annual report for 2018. The news agency Tass quotes how the aircraft’s defects in aircraft systems and engines, as well as unsatisfactory customer service, do not allow more than seven or eight of the 15 Superjets to remain airworthy.
Yamal improved, Interjet hit hard
An individual case? aeroTELEGRAPH has looked into how many of the Superjets of the three largest operators are currently effectively in operation. Yamal Airlines, with its 15 Superjets, is the third-largest operator in the world. At present, the failure rate does not seem to be as high as complained about in the annual report, though. In the past seven days, 13 of the jets have flown on a regular basis.
The second-largest operator is the Mexican airline Interjet with 22 Superjets. In the past, it threatened Sukhoi to return the aircraft due to numerous defects and poor supply of spare parts. Meanwhile, the airline is apparently willing to keep the aircraft if they are compensated by the Russian manufacturer. Will this work out? In the past seven days, a mere six of the 22 aircraft have taken off.
Only 45 of 86 Superjets in the air
The largest Superjet operator is Aeroflot. After the fatal accident in May, the Russian flag carrier still has 49 of these aircraft in its fleet. Of these, 30 took off in the last seven days for more than just test flights. If the three largest operators are summed up, it becomes clear that out of a total of 86 Superjets, only 49 were in operation.
Sukhoi had actually praised the improvement in autumn of 2018. The service for existing customers was to be prioritized over the construction of new jets, according to the manufacturer. Real success does not seem to have been achieved until today.
Is Yamal expanding with Airbus?
Brussels Airlines divested itself of the Superjet at the beginning of 2019. The passengers liked the planes procured under wet-lease. However, the Belgian Lufthansa subsidiary explains that the jets had to be grounded for too long in the event of a malfunction because the manufacturer’s service network continues to be too weak.
According to the portal Russian Aviation Insider, Yamal Airlines, which leases its 15 Superjets from the lessor GTLK, is now considering using Airbus aircraft in favor of other Superjets for future fleet expansion. It already owns eight A320s and three A321s. Looking at the Superjet’s passenger capacity of maximum 103 seats, it would come closest to the A220-100 in Airbus’ portfolio.