Yakutia Airlines, a Russian carrier based in Yaktusk, in the country’s far east, recently had to cannibalize two of its four Suhkoi SSJ100 jets for lack of parts.
The carrier uses the Superjet, as it is also called, together with four other Boeing 737NGs, of which three would be in service – the company also has four Dash 8-300 turboprops.
Recent images of the jets registrations RA-89021 and RA-89035 show the absence of components, including the PowerJet SaM146 engines, supplied by the joint venture between United Engine Corporation (UEC) and France’s Safran.
Only the RA-89038 and RA-89037 registration jets would be able to fly, but one of them has not flown since October 20, according to FligthRadar24.
Due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, several Western companies stopped providing services and selling parts to Russian companies, which has prevented the maintenance of the SSJ100, designed with various European and US equipment, among others.
Two aircraft previously dismantled
The aircraft in Yakutia’s fleet belong to the leasing company GTLK, which asked Irkut, the current manufacturer of the jet, to repair them. However, the answer would have been that in the face of Western sanctions, it is still not possible to put the Superjets back into service.
Yakutia received six SSJ100s, but in 2018 one of them (RA-89011) made a crash landing that damaged its main landing gear and other parts of the aircraft to the point where recovery was impossible.
Another jet, registration RA-89012, also appears unavailable and without parts for quite some time. The RA-89021 aircraft, in turn, stopped flying due to an unusual fact. Yakutia tried to repair a glass on the jet’s windshield, but leaving it exposed to the weather, the plane ended up flooding.
Faced with the imminent unavailability of the first generation of the Superjet, United Aircraft Corporatiuon (UAC) is developing a variant that uses domestic components, including the PD-8 turbofan, and which it will be called SSJ-New. The first flight is expected in 2023.
The Superjet entered service in 2011 with the ambition to be an alternative to western regional aircraft such as the Bombardier CRJ and Embraer E-Jets. It can carry up to 108 passengers and is considered technically advanced, but poor technical support has caused the few customers outside Russia to return their aircraft.