SSJ Interjet.jpg Sukhoi

Sukhoi Faces Loss Of Rare Western Customer

Mexican airline Interjet, which saw a rise in maintenance costs in H1 2018, plans to offload its SSJ100 fleet in favour of larger Airbus A320neos.

Sukhoi’s commercial aircraft ambitions outside Russia and CIS countries have been further undermined by news that Mexican carrier Interjet plans to sell its SSJ100 fleet.

With 22 Superjets Interjet is the regional jet’s second-biggest operator after Aeroflot. More importantly, it is one of only two Western customers for the aircraft.

News that Interjet would ditch the aircraft emerged after the Mexican airline slipped to a loss for the first half of the year.

Mexican news sources say the airline wants to replace its SSJ100s with larger Airbus A320neos to make better use of its slots, but technical problems may have also played a part.

In late 2016, 11 of Interjet’s SSJ100s were ground due to a stabliser node defect. Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency issued an airowrthiness directive requiring “detailed inspection of the stabilizer joint straps and bracket attachment bands”.

Sukhoi fixed the problem and the aircraft returned to service in January 2017, but further groundings followed, for which Sukhoi recently paid Interjet $40 million in compensation.

Interjet’s maintenance expenses rose from MXN 1.1 billion to MXN 1.3 billion for the first half of the year, which combined with rising fuel costs helped push the airline to a MXN 963 million operating loss for the period – more than triple the prior-year loss.

At June 30, 2018, the carrier operated 84 aircraft, including 22 SSJ100s, 47 A320s, three A320neos, six A321 and six A321neos. This was up from 73 aircraft a year earlier.

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