I doubt that Bombardier and Embraer are quaking in their boots just yet, but the Superjet's 98 seats are meant to compete with their offerings. So far, most orders have been limited to Russian carriers or those from former Russian republics. Yes, Italy's ItAli Airlines has placed an order as well, but considering that Italian aircraft maker Alenia Aeronautica is a partner, that's not a huge surprise.
This order from Malev is a big one, but is it solely because Russian interests have been asserting their influence over the airline? Malev says no. According to Malev chief Martin Gauss, "its Superjet decision was 'independent' of Aeroflot."
Regardless, it's good news for Sukhoi, which is expecting to see the aircraft certified later this year. I'm sure everyone is eagerly watching to see if this Malev order is the beginning of great things to come or simply the pinnacle of a lackluster seller.