KARACHI: A Russian aircraft manufacturer is in Karachi to market the Sukhoi Superjet 100 (SSJ-100); a narrow-bodied aircraft with a dual class cabin that can transport 100 passengers over regional routes.
Russian Consul General Andrey Demidov had called a press conference in this regard, which was addressed by the Public Relations Assistant of the Consul General Albert T Fayzullov.
The plane first touched down at the Jinnah International Airport in Karachi on May 4.
Fayzullov revealed that Air Indus – a domestic carrier about to commence operations in the coming months – is in talks with the aircraft manufacturer for three of the jets.
Each jet carries a price tag of around $31-35 million.
The plane is being marketed by Sukhoi – a major military aircraft manufacturer in Russia – in Kazakhstan, Indonesia, Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar.
The Russian state carrier Aeroflot has purchased over thirty aircraft for its own use from Sukhoi which claims that the Superjet 100 employs the latest technology and is safe and fuel efficient.
“The aircraft is comparable in comfort to Airbus and even Boeing,” said Fayzullov, while addressing the press conference.
Sukhoi claims that the plane has an 8-10% efficiency advantage on cash operational costs over competitors; reduced fuel burn per seat; a new engine designed especially for the SSJ 100; higher maintenance intervals; lower operation costs; spacious cabins; wide seats; and lower noise and emissions.
Fayzullov added that the plane comes at a more competitive price than similar capacity planes in the market, and that many have shown interest in purchasing the plane. Sukhoi manufactures military aircraft and is traditionally famous for its fighter jets.
The company says that it is marketing the Superjet in Pakistan and other regional countries for their emerging markets. It says the younger demographic is becoming increasingly capable of travelling by air because of improving economic conditions, which it believes will bolster demand for carriers.
Prevented from take off
The demo for the plane was, however, prevented by the Civil Aviation Authority on grounds of technical issues. Fayzullov, who covered for Demidov due to the latter’s departure following the delay, said “the plane was supposed to make demo flights … but wasn’t able to because the pilot fell ill. He was even taken to the hospital for this.”
A businessman in attendance at the press conference disputed this claim; saying that there was actually a fault with the plane due to which the CAA did not allow it to take off.