Hungary’s Malev and SuperJet International – a joint venture of Italy’s Alenia and Russia’s Sukhoi – signed the agreement of intent to purchase 30 Sukhoi Superjet-100 (SSJ-100) aircraft, Interfax reports. The contract is evaluated at $1 billion.
Malev plans to purchase 98-seated SSJ-100s. The first airplane will be delivered to the company in 2011 and will receive six SuperJet airplanes every year afterwards.
“The new Sukhoi Superjet-100 can be used for both regional and medium-range flights, which coincides with the route network of the airline,” Malev’s General director Martin Gauss said. “We plan to restructure our fleet particularly because of our plans to increase our air transportation,” he added.
Sukhoi Superjet-100 was designed by Sukhoi’s Civil Aircraft in association with Boeing. The new plane is capable of carrying up to 98 passengers on board to a distance of up to 4,400 kilometers.
The first Superjet-100 was exposed to the general public on September 26, 2007 in Russia’s Komsomolsk-on-Amur . The first successful test flight of the plane took place on May 19, 2008.
49.5 percent of Airbridge Zrt’s stocks, which owns 99 percent of Malev’s shares, was sold to Russia’s Vnesheconombank (VEB) at the end of January 2009. The shares used to belong to AirUnion’s co-owner, Boris Abramovich.
After the collapse of AirUnion, Hungary asked Russia to find a new owner. Aeroflot, which VEB hired as an advisor, was announced as Malev’s strategic partner. Malev moved from Moscow ’s Domodedovo Airport to Aeroflot’s primary base at Sheremetyevo Airport and launched several new flights to Russia.
Vnesheconombank spent at least 170 million on Malev in only three years. The bank funded the privatization of the airline in April of 2007 (102 million euros) and gave a 30-million-euro loan to the company in the autumn of 2008.