The landing gear defects were detected on only two aircraft in January and, according to Nedosekin, were not system-related. A mechanical defect prevented the landing gear from retracting, but the issue has been addressed by working with the unit's manufacturer—Messier-Bugatti-Dowty.
This year, Sukhoi plans to replace seven of Aeroflot's SSJ 100s with new so-called full-version aircraft. The first, slated to arrive in March, features individual air vents for passengers, more lavatories, a new weather radar with windshear detection mode and an improved flight-management system. Aeroflot asked for these requirements after it inked the initial contract for 30 SSJ 100s in 2005. To avoid delivery delays, the carrier agreed to take the first 10 aircraft in a more basic configuration provided they would be replaced later. The other three aircraft will be replaced at some point even further in the future. Nedosekin says the returned SSJ 100s will be offered to other customers.
Another Russian airline, Yakutia, began SSJ 100 operations at the end of January. Yakutia's two SSJ 100s are configured in a 93-seat twin-class cabin layout (eight seats in business class, 85 in economy). The East Siberia-based carrier faces harsh winters, so the performance of its SSJ 100s is likely to differ from that of Aeroflot's, which operate in the milder central regions of Russia. In December 2012 the Commonwealth of Independent States' (CIS) Interstate Aviation Committee issued a supplemental type certificate verifying SSJ 100 operations in northern latitudes at temperatures up to 78F and down to -54C.
The launch customer for the SSJ 100, Yerevan, Armenia-based Armavia, is unlikely to resume operations of its only aircraft of the type. It was delivered to the Armenian flag carrier in April 2011. In summer 2012, Sukhoi refused to return the aircraft from a maintenance check, stating that the carrier was severely in arrears. The matter is still in dispute.
Nevertheless more foreign airlines are to start SSJ 100 operations this year. Sky Aviation ordered 12 aircraft while Lao Central signed for three aircraft with an option for six more. Type certification for the aircraft was issued in Indonesia in November 2012, followed by Laos in December.
Sky Aviation went ahead with its purchase despite the May 9, 2012, crash of an SSJ 100 prototype during a demonstration flight near Jakarta. In December 2012, the Indonesian aviation authority cited human factors and the absence of detailed terrain charts onboard as the primary causes of the crash.
Two green SSJ 100s intended for Mexican carrier Interjet are being completed in Venice by the Russian-Italian joint venture SuperJet International, the entity responsible for sales in Western markets.
Sukhoi plans to increase the annual rate of SSJ 100 deliveries to 30 aircraft in 2013 and to 60 in 2014. In 2012 the company rolled out 12 airframes and delivered seven. The official backlog stands at 179 aircraft. Plans are to certify the Sukhoi Business Jet version by the end of 2014.