February 27, 2012 Leave a comment
In a major milestone, Sukhoi Civil Aircraft’s Superjet 100 has become the first Russian passenger aircraft to be approved by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). The SSJ100 (RRJ-95B) has been awarded the EASA Type Certificate A-176, which recognizes that the aircraft complies with EASA’s airworthiness and environmental requirements. The A-176 certification allows European airlines and carriers operating in countries that abide by EASA regulations may now operate the aircraft in their fleets.
Now that Sukhoi’s Superjet 100 has been awarded an EASA certificate, what does this event bode for eventual FAA certification? The answer will be determined by whether or not Russian authorities decide to expand their bilateral agreement with the USA, to include passenger aircraft. Currently, work on Russia’s aviation program stopped at cargo aircraft during the late 1990’s.
More recently, the Beriev 200 received a restricted type certificate for it’s designed role as an amphibious aerial firefighter. Now we see a passenger airliner emerging from the Russian Federation after 20 “lost” years.
How is a civil certification for a passenger aircraft relevant to Fireplanes and the Aerial Firefighting Industry?
EASA certification of any Russian heavy jet is monumental in terms of breaking paradigm, and setting new expectations. This is a very important event for Russia. And for highly competitive airlines, certification of the “Superjet” changes the economics of budget airline operations in the medium haul market. Who wants to be last to move when a game – changer emerges? In the USA, where airlines are taking managed bankruptcies on the backs of their employees, one can look at American Airlines as an example of failed management when it comes to strategic planning. Southwest Airlines is a beehive of activity wherever AA is waning or abandoning markets such as in Austin, Texas.
In Europe, Ryanair has openly considered the Su-100 for it’s budget fare fleet. Who will be the first to get an edge with less costly aircraft? And what do these planes cost? Reportedly the 85-seat SSJ costs $32 Million (USD). How does the SSJ compare to Western alternatives? In price, fairly close to the Embraer E170 and E190, albeit less plane and more passenger comfort for the money. However, one can’t go by third party numbers and web speculations. The real numbers are known only to the customer, aircraft builder, and financiers such as Russia’s VneshEconomBank, which finances Russia’s industrial exports.
In short, airline forecasters betting on European airlines can now include efficient competitive alternatives from Russia in their analysis.
In aerial firefighting, will the Beriev Be-200 become a player in American aviation? The Shinmaywa US2 might, …but might not, – if faced with a superior plane at half the cost.