The parent company of the Russian Sukhoi plane manufacturer, United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), has held talks with Air Serbia and "a Slovenian carrier" over the sale of the Sukhoi Superjet 100 aircraft. UAC Vice President for Civil Aviation, Vladislav Masalov, told media at the Aero India 2017 Airshow in Bangalore on Tuesday that the company was focusing on talks with Air Serbia, a Slovenian airline and the Hungarian government, which have all expressed interest in the 108-seater aircraft. Mr Masalov noted that the company's sales program for 2017 is almost complete and added that an order for twenty of the jets would soon be concluded with Aeroflot. The first European carrier outside of Russia to operate the SSJ100 on revenue flights is the Irish regional airline CityJet, while Brussels Airlines will wet-lease some of the aircraft for a two-year period from April.
Sukhoi first approached and pitched the SSJ100 to the Serbian carrier in late 2015. A delegation from the plane manufacturer visited Serbia to hold talks with representatives from the country's aviation sector including Air Serbia, aircraft maintenance company Jat Tehnika and the Serbian Civil Aviation Directorate. Vladimir Lavrov, the Chief Designer at the Sukhoi Company, said at the time, "It is safe to say that talks with our Serbian colleagues were very successful. We found a few ideas that we will develop jointly and received a number of interesting proposals from our Serbian counterparts". Air Serbia has been on the lookout to replace its regional fleet of six ATR72 aircraft, most of which were delivered new to the carrier's predecessor in 1990.
On the other hand, Mr Masalov did not specify which Slovenian airline has been engaged in talks with UAC. Currently, Adria Airways, Aero4M, Lipican Aer and Solinair have active Air Operator Certificates issued by the country's regulator, with the latter three operating private business and cargo flights. Interest for the SSJ100 has grown in the region, with Croatia Airlines' CEO, Krešimir Kučko, recently noting that the carrier is considering the type for its regional fleet expansion, along with Embraer and Bombardier. The SSJ100 has the capacity to seat between 87 and 108 passengers, depending on cabin layout and seat configuration. It has so far racked up 370 orders and delivered 99 aircraft. In 2016, a total of twenty orders were made for the jets while no contracts have been signed so far in 2017.