Time and again over the years we have heard the mantra that the Russian aircraft industry does not support it's products and thus it's customers well, especially overseas.
Then along came the SSJ. With a lot of good will for the plane to succeed, many people hoped against hope that this time it would be different... but no, like a self-fulfilling prophecy this promising newcomer has been hobbled by lack of support and that good will and fresh start has been squandered.
What I don't understand is why. In comparison to how it is a massively expensive and complex project to design, build, test and certify a modern jet aircraft, setting up a support network should be a low-tech walk in the park. It should be an easy problem to solve.
A couple of stategically placed rented warehouses around the globe (in say, Mexico City and Dublin) in an unfashionable part of town holding a stock of the spares that are likely to cause an AOG isn't going to break the bank. A deal could be done with 3rd party suppliers to hold a stock of their parts "on consignment" so they share the cost/risk of holding inventory.
Couple the above with a customer service office back at the factory, a Fed-Ex account and a "go team" to support their customers when an AOG occurs and voila! Rocket science it ain't! They could even sell it as "Sukhoi Gold Care" or something
Am I missing something?
Russia is trying to do something nearly impossible: to develop an aircraft industry without the necessary means to do it. They don`t even have the resources to maintain their space industry...but they keep launching rockets. Forget about politics and just admire how crazy they are...
In fact supply chain management and logistics are more complicated than you would think just by a cursory glance.
If you need to provide a given unit at a given time and place you stock it in advance, and you make sure you have a large stock to account for unexpexted surges in demand, and you place them spread around the globe so can be brought to the point of need at short notice.
All of that is pretty simple and does not require any special training to achieve. What complicates things greatly is that that is only half the equation, since it ignores the costs involved.
One huge factor in aircraft spares is that you tie up very large amounts of capital in spares. since products don't earn any money while they sit in storage, and since they have such long lead times and huge costs in their production, it is a very exposed part of any attempt to bring an aircraft project to market when the capital become tight and you organization is fighting for its existence, and are looking for ways to achieve savings.
another very difficult SCM issue in maintenance is the cost sharing. Since many partners are involved there needs to be a thorough coordination as to where the costs and benefits are matched in time. My impression is this is a big problem in the case of the SSJ, because the supplier partners do not have the spare capital to just build a bunch of spares without compensation, And Sukhoi or the customers do not provide loans to suppliers, only an absolute minimum of spares are built. I don't have special knowledge of the inner workings of the SSJ project, but in all industries it is often the case that a capital poor supply chain will reveal itself through flagging spare support and maintenance.
You are not incorrect but in the airline world, airlines and their MRO's are the ones expected to hold spares.
So airlines are responsible for anticipating their own needs and prepare for them.
So IMO if you choose an aircraft type that is cheaper to procure but you expect less good support and spares availability, as an operator you need to anticipate that you will have to invest more in spares.
I think that SU is in the clear because the mass of their operation allows them to hold sufficient spare parts in house and keep the aircraft operational.
So imo, the current Cityjet management don't know what they're doing. They thought that buying the aircraft was all they needed to worry about.
I would also like to drop a note that even though A320 and B737 spare parts are available at most major airports, procuring them is not a simple matter. In fact, many airlines have Learjets/Citation jets or what not on standby to deliver spare parts and mechanics.
When you need a part at an outstation or even out of stock at the base and a competing airline/MRO has one, you will have to ask very very nicely and expect to still pay a multiple of what the part is worth. In general the competitor will provide one as a gentleman's gesture.
In fact, many airlines have Learjets/Citation jets or what not on standby to deliver spare parts and mechanics if they can't find a solution.
So yes, Western aircraft have good spares availability but that too is not cheap for the airlines. Keeping aircraft flying is a pain in the xxx. The easy way out is to blame someone else when things don't pan out.