Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Co. (SCAC) has flown its Superjet SSJ100 regional jet for the first time with its new wingtip configuration.

The tip extensions, dubbed “Saberlets” by the Russian manufacturer, were devised by SCAC and Russia’s Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute (TsAGI). The first flight took place Dec. 21 at Moscow Zhukovsky Airport, where TsAGI is based.

The saber-like configuration of the tips aims simultaneously to improve the SSJ100’s takeoff and landing performance and decrease its fuel consumption by at least 3%.

The anticipated improvement in takeoff and landing characteristics will aid airlines operating the aircraft in hot-and-high conditions and into short runways. They are expected to be part of the configuration of SSJ100s operating into London City Airport.

Test flights of the aircraft into London City are taking place this month, with certification expected next year and entry into service in 2019.

Speaking at last month’s Dubai Air Show, SCAC president Alexander Rubtsov said the Saberlets would become an optional production line item and would be able to be retrofitted to earlier aircraft.

The wingtip installation would provide SSJ100 operators with savings of up to $70,000 per year per aircraft, Rubtsov added Dec. 21.

Alan Dron