Italy freezes SuperJet International assets

The Italian government has frozen EUR146 million euros (USD154 million) in assets owned by SuperJet International, a joint-venture of UAC United Aircraft Corporation and Italy’s Leonardo responsible for marketing SSJ 100/95 regional jets outside of Russia.

The assets include cash and four SSJ 100/95Bs parked at Venice Marco Polo airport, where the Italian JV has its headquarters. The ch-aviation fleets advanced module shows these are:

  • I-PDVY (msn 95087) and I-PDVZ (msn 95106) ordered by Mexico’s Interjet (AIJ, Toluca) but never delivered to the carrier,
  • msn 95104, also originally ordered by Interjet but since reassigned to Red Wings Airlines (WZ, Moscow Domodedovo), and
  • msn 95122, ordered by CityJet (WX, Dublin Int’l) but not delivered to the Irish carrier and not reassigned to any other operator.

The Italian financial police (Guardia di Finanza) said in a statement that the freeze only concerned the 90% of assets held by the Russian JV partner. The 10% owned by Leonardo is not affected.

The asset freeze has riled up local Italian labour unions, who are concerned that 144 Italian employees of the company cannot be paid. Banca Intesa Sanpaolo has promised to release payments strictly related to salaries but only to employees who set up an account at the same bank to avoid transferring SuperJet International’s funds to other institutions.

SuperJet International was incorporated in 2007 to provide international marketing, sales, and maintenance support to the Russian manufacturer. Initially, it was a 51/49 joint-venture between Alenia Aermacchi (Brindisi) and Sukhoi Civil Aircraft (Zhukovsky). Alenia Aermacchi has since become Leonardo, which sold 41% in 2016 cutting its stake to just 10%. In turn, Sukhoi Civil Aircraft was absorbed into Irkut and became a part of UAC, which is owned by the national industrial holding Rostec.

Even before sanctions on Russia effectively cut its civil aviation sector off from Western markets and suppliers, UAC abandoned hopes to sell the SSJ 100/95s in Europe or North America. The only two customers in these regions, CityJet and Interjet, retired their fleets of the type as their operations were crippled by a lack of spare parts and insufficient maintenance support. Currently, SSJ 100/95s operate only in Russia.

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