Aeroflot Receives 5 Government-funded Superjet-100 Aircraft

Russian flag carrier Aeroflot has received the initial batch of five Sukhoi Superjet 100 (SSJ-100) airliners from state-run Vnesheconombank (VEB), RNS reported last week.

The deliveries were made during the last week of December and form part of a 100-aircraft order placed by Aeroflot with the Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Corp (SCAC) back in September 2018.

According to SCAC and Russia’s ministry of trade and industry, the remaining 95 aircraft will be delivered by the end of 2026. Aeroflot, which already has 49 SSJ100s in its fleet, will operate the new aircraft in a two-class configuration for 12 business and 75 economy passengers.

Although Aeroflot signed the core deal almost 16 months ago, it appeared unable—or unwilling—to come up with the necessary funds. But at the airline’s supervisory board meeting on October 24, 2019, directors approved the purchase of the first five aircraft.

The Aeroflot board also decided to launch a competition among financiers for the right to structure or fund the deal. At the time, the company signalled a preference for taking the majority of the additional Superjets on operational lease terms stretching over 12 years. Aeroflot CEO Vitaly Saveliev commented that his company remains the largest operator of Russian-made airliners and that it continues to see its role as supporting local aircraft manufacturers.

However, after independent financial groups showed no interest in backing the transaction, the Kremlin instructed the Russia’s largest financial institutions to raise the money under the leadership of VEB.

When presiding over the VEB supervisory board on October 30, 2019, Russian Prime minister Dmitry Medvedev instructed the company to acquire the 100 SSJs for the purpose of leasing them to Aeroflot. “This project is, without a doubt, of national importance, as it is intended for further development of the [local] aircraft manufacturing and the network of regional routes,” Medvedev explained at the time.

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