Superjet 100 crash could wreak Russia’s aviation dream | world | Hindustan Times
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Superjet 100 crash could wreak Russia’s aviation dream

world Updated: May 11, 2012 00:15 IST

The loss of the new Superjet 100 in Indonesia has dealt a heavy blow to the Russian aviation industry which hoped the first new civilian aircraft built in post-Soviet Russia would improve its image.

The Superjet 100, developed by legendary Russian planemakers Sukhoi, first took to the skies in 2008 and only started commercial flights last year in what officials hoped would mark a turnaround for the industry.

Russia's aviation industry is still shadowed by stereotypes of oddly-shaped and disaster-prone Soviet planes but the Superjet was a brand new project aimed at presenting a gleaming new image of Russian technical prowess to the world.

In a horrific irony, the accident happened when the plane was performing a test flight in Jakarta for guests including foreign aviation executives while on its first tour of Asia to drum up more orders in the region.

The Russian government has championed the $1bn Superjet project, wooing Italian industrial giant Finmeccanica to take a stake, and, whatever the cause of the incident, this support is likely to remain strong.

“We are still hoping that the incident in Jakarta will not have an influence on Superjet orders,” an official from the Russian Industry and Trade Ministry told the Vedomosti daily.

The plane is intended to replace the Tupolev-134, the workhorse of Soviet short-haul aviation, which was involved in several disasters in the last decade and which many airlines such as Aeroflot have now withdrawn from service.