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Russia's Suhkoi jet delivers first Superjet to Mexico's Interjet

06/18/2013 | Reuters

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Russian planemaker Sukhoi delivered its first Superjet 100 plane to Mexico's Interjet airline at the Paris Airshow, the Mexican company said on Tuesday.

Another 19 aircraft from Russia's first post-Soviet civil plane project are due to be delivered in the coming months to Interjet, which is mulling plans to go public.

The beginning of deliveries to the Mexican airliner is a boost to the Superjet 100, which has been dogged by safety concerns that have worried prospective buyers.

The Superjet program hit uncertainty last year after one of its planes crashed in Indonesia during a promotional flight, which investigators said was due to a pilot error.

The incident, in which 45 people were killed, led Aeroflot (AFLT.MM), the only airline operating the aircraft, to briefly ground four of its 10 Superjets. Indonesia's Kartika Airlines threatened to cancel its $900 million Superjet deal.

Sukhoi is part of state-owned United Aircraft Corp UNAC.MM, an umbrella corporation Russian President Vladimir Putin created in 2006 to revive the country's aircraft industry in partnership with Italy's Finmeccanica (SIFI.MI).

On Monday, Finmeccanica (SIFI.MI) said it wants to restructure its Superjet joint venture with Sukhoi, but could scrap it, if necessary.

(Reporting by Gabriel Stargardter; Editing by Richard Chang)

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