Indian corporate and defence aerospace specialist Aviotech is poised to become a launch customer for the business aircraft version of the Sukhoi Superjet 100. Sukhoi detailed plans for a corporate variant of the twinjet - to be known as the Sukhoi Business Jet (SBJ) - during the Paris air show, and Hyderabad-based Aviotech signed a letter of intent for up to 20 of the type, of which 10 would be firm, at the MAKS air show in Moscow.
Aviotech has a corporate jet services division and is conducting studies on the range of products which it could place on the SBJ, having determined that there is a market for high-level charters with services beyond those normally offered on executive jets. Sukhoi would deliver the aircraft as green airframes, and they would be completed by Aviotech at a new centre in Hyderabad.
"Each aircraft will be tailored to particular client requirements, but with the intention of dividing the aircraft into several unique zones," said a source familiar with the SBJ agreement. These zones would include a social area with a bar, an entertainment and cinema area, dining and meeting facilities, a shower and a private state room with sleeping quarters.
"The seating will be better than offered by any airline in first class, with internet and live television facilities, video-on-demand and the very latest in ambient mood lighting."
Sukhoi declared in June that the airframer would press ahead with the SBJ and give more details on the aircraft at the NBAA show in Las Vegas in October. It envisioned a market for 80 SBJs over 20 years, and added that the baseline cost of the aircraft would be about $50 million. Superjet International, which markets the Sukhoi aircraft, said it had been "impressed" by a "high number of requests" from VIP customers.
Negotiations have started with cabin equipment suppliers to handle the Aviotech interior, while cabin crew will be trained in Delhi. Aviotech said it chose the SBJ for its "excellent economic advantages" and "advanced technological features".