Russian natural-gas giant Gazprom komplekt has signed a firm order at the Moscow International Aviation and Space Salon for the purchase of 10 Sukhoi...

Russian natural-gas giant Gazprom komplekt has signed a firm order at the Moscow International Aviation and Space Salon (MAKS-2011) for the purchase of 10 Sukhoi Superjet 100/95LRs to upgrade the fleet of subsidiary airline GazpromAvia.

The order firms a letter of intent signed by Gazprom at the 2010 Farnborough International Airshow. The Superjet 100/95LR is the longer-range version of the basic Sukhoi Superjet 100, which is known as the Superjet 100/95B.

Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Company values the Gazpromavia order at $323 million at list prices. The purchase contract was signed by Vladimir Prisyazhnyuk, president of Sukhoi Civil Aircraft company and Valery Kanyuka, first deputy CEO of Gazprom. The ceremony was attended by Vladimir Putin, the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation.

Deliveries of Superjet 100s to Gazpromavia are scheduled to begin in 2013.

Wearing a nose-attached sensor probe for test flying, the prototype Sukhoi Superjet 100 takes off for a test flight on May 22, 2008. In the background is a mighty Antonov An-124 transport aircraft, often used for carrying extra-large items of cargo which can't fit into the holds of other freighters

“I’m very glad that one of the major Russian airlines, Gazpromavia, decided in favor of the Sukhoi Superjet 100”, said Prisyazhnyuk. “I’m sure that our aircraft will show its operational efficiency on the regional route network of the company; and both passengers and pilots will judge Sukhoi Superjet 100’s comfort on its merits [and] that will be a guarantee of our effective cooperation in future.”

The Sukhoi Superjet 100 (SSJ100) is a 100-seat regional jet designed, developed and built by Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Company (SCAC), in partnership with Alenia Aeronautica. The SSJ100 first flew on May 19, 2008.

Sukhoi’s Superjet 100 cruises at a maximum operating speed of Mach 0.81 and has a ceiling of 40,000 feet. Fully loaded, the basic-range version requires a runway distance of 1,731 meters (5,680 feet) runway to take off, while the long-range version requires a take-off runway distance of 2,052 meters (6,732 feet). Range with typical payload for the basic version is 3,048 kilometers (1,894 miles) and the long-range version has a range of 4,578km (2,845 miles).

In February 2011, the Russian Certification Authority (IAC AR) awarded the SSJ100 its type certificate. Certification by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is expected to follow this year. The first production SSJ100 was delivered on April 19, to Armenian carrier Armavia.

Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Company’s shareholders are Sukhoi Holding, which owns 75 per cent of the comapny minus one share; and Italian manufacturer Alenia Aeronautica, a Finmeccanica company, which has held 25 per cent plus one share since April 7, 2009. Sukhoi Civil Aircraft was founded in 2000 to develop new regional aircraft. Headquartered in Moscow, the company has production facilities in the cities of Komsomolsk-on-Amur, Novosibirsk and Voronezh. Today the company employs over 2,000 people.

The Sukhoi Superjet 100, a new family of regional jets, is the company’s major project.

GazpromAvia was founded in 1995. The company is headquartered in Moscow and it has operating units in Kaluga, Perm, Samara, Ugra, Ukhta, Sochi, Yamburg, Tomsk and at Ostafievo Airport.

GazpromAvia and its operating arms monitor main gas pipelines and perform scheduled and charter flights to the Far North and Western Siberia, in accordance with the needs of Gazprom and its subsidiary companies. GazpromAvia also performs scheduled flights to several other cities in Russia and provides a full range of airport services at the Ostafievo and Yamburg airports.