Farnborough: Russian design bureau and aircraft manufacturer, Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Company, has signed a provisional agreement for the sale of 24 of its Superjet100 civil jetliners to Russian leasing firm, Avialeasing. The value of the deal, which is yet to be finalised, is pegged at around $630 million.
With the agreement, Sukhoi will have sold around 97 Superjet100s, though almost entirely to Russian companies.
The 78-98 seat Superjet100 is being developed for local and Western markets.
Sukhoi is better known as Russia's biggest combat aircraft manufacturer. It is now the company's intention to reorient its product and manufacturing portfolio towards civilian products, and achieve a 50 per cent diversification by 2015. The Superjet100 programme is an international collaboration, with 25 per cent of the project owned by Italy's Alenia Aeronautica, part of Finmeccanica.
Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Company's president, Viktor Subbotin, termed the order as ''close'' to a firm order, adding that Avialeasing would have an option to purchase a further 16 aircraft. Subbotin anticipates the order figure to cross 100 by the time the week-long Farnborough air show comes to a close.
Sukhoi's fortunes are widely viewed as key to the revival of Russia's struggling aviation industry.
The chief executive of Sukhoi's marketing venture, Superjet International, Alessandro Franzoni has said that his division had decided not to lower their long-term target of selling 800 planes despite the damaging impact on the industry of soaring fuel costs. He said that soon there would be ''a bunch of old aircraft needing replacing'' as the number of companies struggling with inefficient engines and load factors goes up.
He said that Sukhoi can provide a more efficient engine, on a conveniently sized plane.