Russia's United Aircraft Corporation chief Alexei Fyodorov said Monday that deliveries of the Superjet 100 may be indefinitely delayed because the engines weren't ready. The Superjet is being developed by Sukhoi, fighter jet specialists, in partnership with shareholder Italian aerospace and defence group Finmeccanica.
The engines are being produced by Russia's Saturn in a joint venture with France's Safran. Another French concern, Thales, is involved with the supply of avionics for the aircraft.
''Sukhoi is in talks with the buyers about new time frames for delivery of these planes. The engine makers have shifted the timetable of certification. Well, it turned out they were not ready,'' Fyodorov said. ''I think the problems were indeed technical - a new engine is being developed.''
According to Saturn, the engines were undergoing necessary documentation and testing.
''The engine is being certified. We are aiming to get the engines certified according to European, US and, of course, Russian standards, by May-June,'' a spokesperson said, adding that the engine would be delivered to the client after certification.
Sukhoi has orders for atleast 100 of these planes, with Armenian flag carrier Armavia as the launch customer. A prominent customer is the Russian flag carrier Aeroflot.
Last week, industry and trade minister Viktor Khristenko had indicated that deliveries would start in the first half of 2010.