Superjet sales plan

Makers of the new Russian Superjet airliner said yesterday in Athens that they planned to sell 1,800 of the midsize aircraft in 20 years. The ambitious target was announced after Russia’s Sukhoi joined forces with major Western companies – including Boeing as a consultant – to promote the 95-seat aircraft. The plane is due to start tests later this year and go on sale in 2008. «This is not purely a Russian product. It’s an international product… The partnership with international companies obviously gives credibility to the project itself and for after-sales support,» said Svetlana Issaeva, vice president of sales at Sukhoi Civil Aircraft. «No one in the world – neither Boeing nor Airbus – can go it alone. Russia is no different,» Issaeva said. «This is probably why we are different from other Russian manufacturers who probably think they can still carry on as they did 20-30 years ago.» Issaeva was attending a European airlines conference in Athens. Sukhoi, which makes jet fighters, has agreements with Italy’s Alenia Aeronautica and French state-owned jet-engine maker Snecma to sell civilian aircraft. The hope is to revive Russia’s beleaguered commercial aviation manufacturing sector. Alessandro Franzoni, CEO of the Italy-based joint venture Superjet International, said he planned to sell 1,200 planes by 2028 and a further 600 modified versions, including a model for business travelers. (AP)