Russia’s Sukhoi is marketing it’s Superjet 100 to a new audience: VIP and corporate customers. The manufacturer plans to modify its existing SSJ100s to serve as private jets for the rich and famous willing to buy them. So what changes is the manufacturer planning for this regional jet?
According to Airway, Russia’s Minister of Trade and Industry, Denis Manturov, announced plans for a corporate SSJ100 in Abu Dhabi this week. The reconfigured aircraft will see the addition of sharklets to its wings, providing more range and better aerodynamic efficiency, as well as additional fuel tanks.
Discussing the timeline and demand for the SSJ-VIP version, Mr. Manturov said, “A demonstration plane will appear in the second half. I think there will be a sufficient number of people interested in this version, because the cost-benefit is very competitive.”
The decision to make a VIP version of the SSJ100 might come as a surprise since it has been marketed regional jet. The aircraft offers a range of 1,646 or 2,472 nautical miles depending on the variant (standard or LR). However, once the sharklets, extra fuel tanks, and other changes are made, the aircraft will have much more range.
Additionally, VIP jets usually carry a fraction of the passengers a commercial aircraft does, further improving weight and range. This means the SSJ could well make a viable private jet if all goes to plan at Sukhoi.
Price and competition
While no price has been announced for the SSJ-VIP, officials have already alluded to the lower cost of this plane compared to the competition. A standard SSJ100 currently costs just over $50 million at list price, which means we can expect the VIP variant to be in a similar range or possibly lower.
While the current range of the SSJ-VIP is unknown, we could expect it to compete with private jets like the Embraer Praetor 500 or Legacy 500 in terms of range (roughly 3,200mn). Both of these aircraft cost much lesser ($16-18mn) than a standard SSJ100 but also seat far fewer passengers (depending on the configuration).
However, the SSJ-VIP could also try and compete with the recently-announced larger A220ACJ. Since the SSJ100 is already an established jet, it could be looking to pry away market share from Airbus and Boeing.
It’s clear that Sukhoi is trying to take advantage of the growing demand for private jets. The pandemic has pushed many of those considering flying private over commercial to take the leap due to the higher exposure. While this still only represents a tiny group of travelers, it is enough to help luxury jet operators in the last year.
The coming months will provide more details about the price, range, and configuration of the SSJ-VIP. Considering the market right now, the Superjet could see demand from many customers.
What do you think about the future of a private Superjet? Let us know in the comments!