The airline Rusline, which operates regional flights, has withdrawn from negotiations with Ilyushin Finance and Sukhoi Civil Aircraft (GSS) on the lease of 18 SuperJet 100 (SSJ 100). Failure is motivated by reputational risk. According to the management of the carrier, the crash at Sheremetyevo threatens the payback of the aircraft, although they assure Rusline that there is no doubt about the safety of the machines. Its producers do not see mass refusals of buyers from SSJ 100, and sources in the aviation industry are confident that the decision of Ruslayn is not really connected with the consequences of the disaster.
The airline "Rusline" refused to lease 18 SSJ 100 aircraft, carrier owner Nikolay Ulanov told Kommersant. According to him, Rusline left the negotiations with Ilyushin Finance (lessor) and GSS (producer) after the Sheremetyevo disaster on May 5, which took the lives of 41 people.
Mr. Ulanov explained the failure of reputational risks: the company fears that after the crash, passengers will be afraid to fly on SSJ 100 aircraft, which will negatively affect the prospects for payback. If supplied, these vessels would have constituted half of the Ruslayna fleet (today it operates 18 Canadian CRJ 100/200).
At the same time, Rusline does not doubt the safety of the aircraft. “A certified and approved aircraft is, by definition, safe,” said Nikolay Ulanov.
Aeroflot's SSJ 100 crashed at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport on May 5. The board flew to Murmansk, but after a lightning strike, some of the equipment went off, and the crew decided to return to the airport of departure. When landing, the plane hit the ground and caught fire, 41 people died (see “Kommersant” on May 6, about investigating the disaster - see the article “SSJ rushing to the ground”).
Rusline has been negotiating the leasing of the SSJ 100 since the second half of 2018 (see “Kommersant” on April 1). According to Kommersant sources in the industry, the carrier hoped to receive a budget subsidy from Rosaviatsiya, which would compensate for part of the lease payments. Ilyushin Finance did not confirm the information about Rusline’s withdrawal from the negotiations.
In the KLA, where the GSS is included, they assured that the existing operators continue to fly the SSJ 100, the corporation provides them with “full support”, the level of the raid remains stable. “The airlines with which we are in the negotiation process regarding the possible acquisition of SSJ 100 did not change their negotiating positions because of what happened at Sheremetyevo,” the corporation claims. “SSJ 100 was created and certified according to Russian and European standards. There are no pragmatic reasons for revising the business models of cooperation. The special commission understands the details of the disaster at Sheremetyevo. ”
The KLA also hinted that the outcome of the negotiations with Rusline was the result not of a catastrophe, but of economic considerations. Thus, the corporation stressed that cooperation with airlines depends, among other things, on the results of the analysis of the financial and economic model of a potential partner: “We must be confident in its ability to operate the supplied aircraft safely and sustainably. We have no agreements with Rusline airline yet. ”
The Kommersant source in the aviation industry claims that the possibility of acquiring the SSJ 100 was previously discussed with Rusline a few months ago. “The airline requested unprecedented leasing conditions and linked the purchase of aircraft with the implementation of a number of projects in other types of business, in particular, offered to build hangars to service the aircraft. Apparently, without the construction of hangars, the Rusline financial model did not work out. The discussions ended more than a month ago, with the departure of the previous leadership of the GSS, ”the source said. He believes that linking the outcome of the negotiations with the disaster at Sheremetyevo is “rather absurd.”
Alexey Sinitsky, editor-in-chief of Aviation Transport Review, notes that any company makes decisions on the acquisition or rejection of aircraft of one type or another, based on its business logic. At the same time, in his opinion, one should not expect a mass refusal of airlines from operating the SSJ 100 until the end of the investigation into the causes of the disaster at Sheremetyevo: it is difficult to find the reasons for such failures today.