FARNBOROUGH—Sukhoi has begun development on a stretched version of the Superjet 100.                                                                       

Marketing efforts have been relatively quiet, so far, but the design’s outlines have been clearly defined. The seating capacity will be increased by 20 to 120. “We do not want to go into the narrowbody [aircraft] market,” Nazario Cauceglia, CEO of SuperJet International, the Venice, Italy-based marketing arm for the aircraft, told Aviation Daily. A new wing, with a higher aspect ratio, is needed. The winglets the company is developing (to cut the fuel burn of the SSJ100) would not suffice, according to Cauceglia. The range of the first stretched version will be set at 2,000 nm, between the ranges (1,500 nm and 2,400 nm) of the two existing variants of the SSJ100.

Weight would be close to 55 metric tons (121,000 lb.), a significant increase over the longer-range SSJ100’s 49 metric tons (108,000 lb.). Nevertheless, “We do not want to redesign the SSJ100 too much, as this would involve too-high costs,” Cauceglia said.

The SSJ100’s PowerJet SaM146 turbofan powerplant will not need any change, PowerJet CEO Marc Sorel said. A “throttle push” is believed to be enough, at nearly 18,000-lb. thrust. This is 2.5% more thrust than the basic version.

Neither Ireland’s CityJet nor Mexico’s Interjet, two customers who have agreed to help promote the SSJ100, are interested in the stretched version. Both carriers say they are interested in the 100-seat capacity only.

This leaves SuperJet International unfazed, as the marketing company focuses on the favorable feedback the airlines give on operating the SSJ100.

Interjet, which took delivery of its first SSJ100 in September 2013, has expressed great satisfaction. The aircraft’s technical-dispatch reliability stands at 99%, Interjet CEO Jose Luis Garza said. This is taking place in a hot and high environment: Mexico City’s airport has an elevation of 2,400 m (7,900 ft.), and the temperature can reach 25C (77F). An Interjet SSJ100 flies an average seven flights per day, for an average stage length of 1.5 hr.

The operator hit the 100,000-cycle milestone in May. PowerJet’s Sorel added the SaM146’s dispatch reliability has been measured at 99.9%, over the entire in-service fleet.

Interjet has received 21 SSJ100s. Garza praised the cabin, with its five-abreast layout, and its Italian design, which provides brightness.

“Many passengers can’t distinguish whether they are flying on a Superjet or an Airbus A320,” Garza asserted. The SSJ100 has even larger bins (per passenger) than the A320, he noted. The airline uses both types “in a complementary fashion, depending on demand,” Garza said. He deemed the SSJ100’s fly-by-wire control system “a bit more advanced” than the A320’s.

Despite the distance, support has been “very good,” Garza said. He pointed out the effort Sukhoi has made for on-time delivery of spare parts. At least seven aircraft have already undergone a C check at Interjet’s maintenance facilities in Mexico. Pilot training has taken place in Venice, but a full flight simulator is to be installed next fall in Mexico.

Interjet is making a profit with the SSJ100, according to Garza.

CityJet has just started operating the type. Executive Chairman Pat Byrne commended the cockpit’s “close resemblance” with that of the A320, and made a similar comparison of the SaM146 and the CFM56 engines.