Why Is Armenia Procuring Low Quality Superjets

Russia’s Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov has recently told the journalists that Armenia is interested in obtaining Russian Sukhoi Superjet 100 civil aircraft. In particular, the airplanes will be obtained by the Armenian-Russian joint airline.

Superjet 100

In 2011, Armenia’s national carrier “Armavia” had procured Sukhoi Superjet 100 but then had refused from it, referring to its bad quality and high maintenance costs.

From the day of their creation, there have been numerous reports about technical issues of the jets (the representatives of “Sukhoy” company do admit it).

In December 2016, Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency suspended operation of  6 superjets of “IrAero” and made the “Sukhoy” company check not only the aforementioned six jets, but also all the Superjet 100s that are under operation.

And while “Sukhoi Civil Aircraft” Group, which designs the Superjet 100s, has stated that 20% of the total fleet of these aircrafts is being repaired, 80% is actually under operation. This means that one “Sukhoi Superjet 100” out of five is out of order.

Note that these Russian planes are not distinguished by having high demand in the market, and about 80% of their buyers are Russian airlines.

During more than 5 years of its existence, only 84 airplanes have been sold. At the same time, the “Aerobus” sold about 200 planes of that kind (A318 and A319). The “Boeing-737” has also been produced in approximately the same quantity.

And the Brazilian “Embraer” company has produced and sold 5-6 times more jets of that kind (Embraer 190 and 195 for about 100 passengers) during the last 5 years compared to the Russian “Sukhoi” company.


Thus, a rightful question arises… If all the airlines prefer European, American and even Brazilian aircraft, why is Armenia discussing the procurement of Sukhoi Superjet 100 jets, which are notorious for their technical issues and lack of economic profitability. Moreover, there are used Aerobus A-319s, Boeing 373s, Embarer 195s and other jets, which satisfy all (including European) the technical criteria, are affordable and easy (also cheap) to use.

The answer to the question can be found in the customs tariffs. Before Armenia became EAEU member, this class of jets used to be cleared with 0 customs tariffs in Armenia. Currently, the importer has to pay an 18,9% customs duty. Moreover, the airplanes are not included in the list of temporary privileges, and, hence, the customs tariff has been valid since January 2015.

This is the reason why Armenian businessmen are considering purchasing Russian airplanes (and Sukhoi Superjet 100 is the only civil aircraft). In order to obtain any other aircraft, they would have to pay 18,9% of its price to the EAEU budget.

Daniel Ioannisyan,
“Union of Informed Citizens”

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