Zambia will no longer be receiving a Sukhoi SuperJet 100 VIP passenger jet from Russia as it lacks the funds to pay for the aircraft.
Russia’s Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov told TASS during the Russia-Africa Summit in Sochi last week that the contract for the VIP-configured aircraft has been suspended as Zambia cannot pay for the jet.
“In Africa, for example, we signed a contract for the supply of a VIP version of the SSJ 100 [SuperJet] to Zambia. But in Zambia, besides the advance payment, there were no funds to finance this aircraft, so the contract has been frozen,” Manturov said.
In July 2017 it was reported that Zambia had ordered five SuperJets from Russia. Subsequent media reports stated that Sukhoi would only supply a single VIP-configured SuperJet for President Edgar Lungu, after earlier reports suggested four SuperJets would be acquired for the relaunch of Zambia Airways.
The single SuperJet was to be delivered this year at a cost of $45-49 million, Sukhoi vice president Yevgeny Andrachnikov said at the Russian Business Aviation Exhibition last year.
Zambia’s Air Force has acquired a number of new aircraft in recent years. By August this year, it had received its two Leonardo C-27J Spartan transport aircraft that were ordered in 2015 from Italy. In Zambian service, the C-27Js will most likely replace the Air Force’s BAe 748s and supplement its Y-12 and MA60 transport aircraft. They are based at Lusaka/Kenneth Kaunda International Airport, according to Scramble Magazine.
On 28 February this year, the Zambian Air Force received a new Gulfstream 650ER jet, which is believed to have been ordered for $65 million via Israel, where it was fitted with a self-defence system. The G650 takes over from the Challenger 604 used by the Zambian government for VIP transport.