Russia Unveils First New Airliner Since Soviet Era

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Sukhoi rolled out the first copy of its Superjet 100 on Wednesday, the first aircraft designed and produced in post-Soviet Russia. The regional jet can carry up to 103 passengers, and the company promises it will deliver comfort and efficiency. France and Italy also participated in the project. "Sukhoi Superjet 100 is a child of thousands of people around the globe, committed to the project's success with their hearts and souls," said Sukhoi CEO Mikhail Pogosyan. "It took us all six and a half years to get here, overcoming skepticism and finding our way ... Have a look at the aircraft -- I'm sure it was worth it." The aircraft will now begin flight tests.

Sukhoi is based in Komsomolsk-on-Amur, near Russia's eastern coast. Sukhoi said it has 73 firm orders in hand for the aircraft, most of them going to replace aging aircraft flown by Russian airlines. The company hopes to compete with Embraer and Bombardier in the global market for regional jets.