Air Transport World

PowerJet seeks global approval.(ENGINES)

For Snecma/NPO Saturn joint venture PowerJet, developing and producing the SaM146 engine for Sukhoi Civil Aircraft's Superjet 100 is the easy part. With the regional jet's first flight imminent and first delivery to Aeroflot slated for next November, PowerJet officials are beginning to move on to the hard part: Convincing Western aircraft manufacturers and regional airline operators that a propulsion system built in remote Poluevo, Russia, can be superior to more traditional powerplants produced by manufacturers with final assembly lines in more recognizable places.

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When PowerJet launched in 2004, Western aircraft makers and airlines held a skeptical view of the JV, admits Snecma VP and GM-Commercial Engines Jean-Pierre Cojan. But, he tells ATW, once PowerJet had an opportunity to brief Bombardier, Embraer and others on the SaM146 and detail the global manufacturing process employed to build the engine, initial skepticism gave way to intrigued curiosity. "What was always most difficult was getting the first meeting with a manufacturer or an airline," he explains. "Once we get the first meeting, we get a second meeting and a third meeting."

PowerJet, while now focused firmly on the Superjet program, ultimately aims to be the premier engine provider for the 70/120-seat commercial aircraft market. "You never [develop] an engine for a single aircraft," Cojan says. "Historically, any engine produced for a single commercial aircraft has been a commercial failure. You have in mind [when manufacturing a new engine] that you will develop a number of derivatives ... We are maintaining contacts with Western airframers [regarding the SaM146]. We will be interested in and we will be competing [to be the engine provider] for any sort of upgrades on existing regional jets and will be competing on any new design. …

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