Paris Air Show 2009: The debut of a new Russian airliner the Sukhoi Superjet 100

The biggest orders of the Paris Air Show were racked up by Sukhoi, the Russian aerospace firm best known for its fighters.

The 98-seat airplane is the first to come from the country since the fall of the Soviet Union and is slated to compete with the new Bombardier CSeries and Embraer’s E-Jets.

Sukhoi claims the operating cost of the Superjet 100 will be 10-15% lower than either of its competitors.

The airplane made its public debut at the 2009 Paris Air Show and racked up 27 firm orders with 17 options at the show, an impressive total considering the otherwise gloomy mood in Paris.

Carriers from Italy, Indonesia, Russia, Spain and Armenia have ordered the jet, bringing the total firm orders to 149 so far. It may be time for a U.S. carrier to take a look at this airplane as well.

Gadling was there for the public flying debut of the Superjet 100:

There’s also a nice video of the proposed interior of the Sukhoi’s first airliner here.

Check out the rest of Gadling’s Paris Air Show coverage.

Russia to produce new Sukhoi jets

Is airframe production the mark of a successful country? The US has Boeing, Europe has Airbus, Canada has Bombardier, Brazil has Embraer. Even China’s trying to get in on the business with the China Comercial Aircraft Company, even though that’s going to take a couple ten years to get rolling.

Russia’s flagship producer, Tupolev, not unlike their progress as a democratic nation, has been pretty lethargic. Much of their production has been in the commercial sector while very few new aircraft designs have surfaced.

Under a new commercial wing of The United Aircraft Building Corporation (UABC), however, things are starting to turn around. UABC, Russia’s new manufacturing congolmerate (which will soon run Tupolev as well) is now employing Sukhoi Corporation to start production of a new series of medium range jets.

The first, dubbed the Sukhoi Superjet 100’s, are already well underway. First test flights were just complete this week and the company has an aggressive production schedule that includes initial deliveries later this year.

Their plan is to directly compete with medium range aircraft — those like Bombardier’s CRJ’s or Embraer’s E-Jets — but mostly in the Russian market. Reducing dependence on foreign airframe manufacturers (not unlike China’s plans), will therefore make their economy stronger.

Don’t expect to be flying on any Superjets in the near future though. Most of the initial orders have gone to Russian carriers and even then it’s going to be a few years until all of those orders are fulfilled. Until that point, I’m still happy flying on Tupolev 154.

Russia’s Own Superjet Unveiled

It seems that everyone who has flown Aeroflot, the Russian airline, has some sort of crazy story, either from takeoff (pilot sitting on a crate of beers), landing (wheels falling off), or mid-air (the doors not being completely closed causing the cabin to get freezing cold). Those could all be urban legends, but the truth is, their planes tend to be old. All this could change very soon.

Russia just introduced their brand new plane: Sukhoi’s Superjet 100, the first Russian commercial airliner designed since the end of the Soviet Union. As a mid-range passenger liner with 75 or 95 seats, it will compete directly with Brazil’s Embraer and Canada’s Bombardier. Good news, folks.

Flying Aeroflot, assuming they will purchase these planes, might just become as boring as flying any other airline!