Hoping to boost the sales of the Sukhoi Superjet 100 (SSJ100) and better serve its customers, parent SuperJet Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Company (SCAC) and its Italy-based affiliate, SuperJet International (SJI), are planning to bundle their commercial and marketing activities and establish a single, unified worldwide commercial structure.

Currently, SCAC focuses on sales in Russia/CIS and most parts of Southeast Asia, while SJI, the joint venture between Italy’s Alenia Aermacchi (51%) and Sukhoi Holding (49%), pitches the regional aircraft to airlines and leasing in Western markets such as Europe, the Americas and other markets such as Oceania, Africa and Japan.

“The objective is to unify and create an integrated sales department for SCAC and Superjet International,” Superjet International CEO Nazario Cauceglia told ShowNews here at the Farnborough Airshow. “We want to make the sales process more efficient and achieve synergies, while also showing the market we are ‘one’ team.”

The move is driven by changes in the market and higher expectations from customers of the sales process, he said, noting that “airlines now want a total offering that goes beyond the sale of the aircraft sensu strictu and includes customer support, training, financing, spare parts and MRO.”

The proposed setup, however, hit a snag: The ex-Embraer executive who was hired to lead the commercial aircraft sales teams worldwide resigned before he started the job after a dispute with a member of the SCAC management team.

Sukhoi has a firm backlog of 180 aircraft, according to SCAC SVP for economics and finance Artem Pogosyan. Pogosyan, the son of United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) CEO and president Mikhail Pogosyan, recognizes the aircraft has struggled to attract international customers. All but one of its customers, Mexico’s Interjet, are Russia/CIS airlines or leasing companies.

“We have been very focused on Russia/CIS but we remain confident we can capture 14-15% of the worldwide market for regional aircraft [in the 90- to 120-seat segment] in the next two decades. We see big demand in Europe, China, South East Asia and South America,” Pogosyan said. SCAC estimates the demand for new regional jets at approximately 6,000.

Cauceglia is more optimistic and believes Sukhoi can capture a 20-25% share of the 90- to 120-seat market in the next 20 years. And, he says, “we hope to conclude a sale [to a Western customer] very soon.”