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Hello and welcome on board this trip report, once again due to Coronavirus outbreak it's an all record that I will introduce you translate from a 2018 french report.
I've started the translation in 2018 and published the first flight of the routing two years ago, but sorry for the English part of the website I was to busy to conclude it. The subject is still interesting and 100% av-geek but it's now part of the history, a short time when Russian made jets flew on Brussels airlines fleet.
This trip was a special trip. Why? Because the main objective wasn't to go to Basel (Switzerland). But definitely to flew on board the last of Russian built commercial jet the Sukhoi Superjet 100. Like many avgeek, I tried to catch these birds during their leasing contract with the Belgian airlines Brussels airlines. The flight was operated by the Irish company Cityjet who's order 15 Sukhoi's in october 2015. On the 6 delivered 5 of them were flying for SN with 3 on the fulls colors of the Belgian airline.
From my hometown airport Toulouse the quickest, cheapest and easiest way to fly on this russian beauty was to do that routing.
I tried to do that kind of trip during my day off (I work during the week-ends) so the price is not too high and I can spend a complete day in Basel to visit this beautiful Swiss city. The full trip cost was around 110€ without the hotel.
It's only the third report on English database on board the Sukhoï Superjets.
Until few month ago the only option to flew on board these jets was to take Russians airlines like Aeroflot or Yamal, who used it mostly on domestic flights
The Mexican Interjet and Irish Cityjet stored all there SSJ fleet one year ago due to lack of reliability and poor customer support, that was looking like the end of the short carreer of this type of aircraft in "western world" but few month ago Interjet has reactivate some birds for domestic flight since all there A32X fleet was taking back by lessors.
For the Cityjet ones after spending one and half year operating for Brussels Airlines, they were stored since winter 2018 in Ireland and since 2020 in Belgrade, Serbia, now registered in Malta. They have a new owner, Seraph Aviation a leasing company.
For the line, it's a new one on English database.
I was in transit from Toulouse with Brussels Airlines, all the Schengen flights are operated from the newest hall A.
My flight is indicated on the screen but no gate indications at the moment.
I start to have a look by the window in order to see my plane of the day. perhaps this one ?!
Still have a lot of spare time and I start to spot aircrafts by the large window of the terminal. You can find some local planes like this Airbus A319 coming from Lyon.
We also have a nice view on runway 25R movements, like this small Erj 175 arriving from Amsterdam
Or this other Embraer of TUI Belgium taking off for a positioning flight to Ostend.
This A320 from SAS taking off to Copenhaguen
His Majesty BA flew to Heathrow on board this A320.
It's the end of the flight for this Ryanair Boeing 737-800 coming from Lisbonne.
Another landing, this small Embraer 175 of Alitalia Cityliner just arriving from Milan Linate. Fun fact I already take this particular aircraft the year before on FCO-TLS.
This A319 of SN comes from Marseille.
In the background you can see the two fire trainer of Brussels airport one B737 and one Avro RJ 85
On the Melsbroeck Air Force Base you can see the Airbus A321 used by the Belgian Air Force but still owned by Hifly.
You can also observe some private aircraft movements like this Challenger 850 operated by Air X charter or this Gulfstream GV of the Hellenic Air Force.
More casual this B737-700 arriving packed with tourists from Antalya.
Inside the terminal, there is a lot of advertises around like this Mercedes car, airlines are also on the game with large panels for Vueling or Finnair.
My gate is now displayed on the FIDS, and I need to go downstairs.
It will be gate A36 this afternoon, the staff is already there starting the boarding process.
Even if it's a paxbus door the surrounding and waiting area are comfortable and equipped with toilets and some vending machines. The only disappointing point is the outside view, but you can still have a look on few traffic like this A319 of Brussels Airlines or the ANA Boeing 787.
Passengers are called for boarding, here is the e-ticket.
To reach our aircraft a short bus ride is necessary, I like this kind of small airport bus-tour.
We can see this Hifly A330 wearing a special charity livery for ocean cleaning, he is coming back from few weeks in New Zeland, where he operates for Air New Zeland during the B787 Rolls Royce engine crisis.
We are approaching a Cityjet bird but wait a minute… it's not a Sukhoi, it's an old Avro RJ85 ! Hopefully we didn't stop in front of this airplane, but I was scared of an unexpected aircraft swap during few seconds.
Our Sukhoï is just behind, and I heard on passenger telling at is friend that it's a Russian made jet, another avgeek on board ?
Let me introduce you EI-FWC, it's of course a one an a half years old Sukhoï Superjet 100-95B. Delivered brand new from the factory to Cityjet, is as kept it's original livery even if he spend most of is time to operate for the Brussels Airlines wet lease contract.
Like all the SSJ he is powered by two Sam 146 french-russian made engine.
Let's climb on board !
Cockpit section and aircraft front door. We've got a warm welcome from the young cabine crew at the front.
First look at the cabin, it's look nice and comfortable with a 2x3 seating configuration, seats are really thick, it's far from the usual slimline standards that we have on usual regional aircraft's. There was also a background music during the boarding process.
The luggage bins are really spacious and the LED-lit cabin is modern. The only flaw is the low clearance between the luggage compartments and the seat. My neighbor, a small woman under 5.5 feet tall, will hit her head hard on it when she lets me go to my seat.
After this demonstration of head clearance, I reach carefully my seat ^^. Pitch is really good.
But there is a seat attachment located on the 2/3 of the seat, and you didn't really know how to store your feet's.
Back of the seat as a unusual round shape, You can find a small tray table, and a hook for your jacket.
Outside view, another flaw the window position is really low. The top of the window was around my nose level and I'm just 5,7 feet tall !
The overhead panel is usual and simple.
We are waiting the second pax bus during few long minutes, two rows ahead a young girl starts to be annoyed and slowly yell and cry… The young steward at the rear build like a rugby player come's from the front galley with some goodies for all children on board. A smart move there will be no noises from all the young passengers during all the flight ! Kudos to that flight purser really efficient and friendly !
The second paxbus come's finally with the last passenger's and we are soon ready for departure, captain speech introduce the crew and the Sukhoï aircraft. During safety demonstration the "Superjet" term was used.
We are quickly pushed back, and we start our taxi, here is the freaking Avro who's operated the morning flight to Basel.
This small Cessna Citation will do a U turn on the middle of the taxiway.
During the taxi we saw this big A300-600F landing on 25R.
On the over side of 25R, we can see few C 130-H of Belgian Air Component
25R or 19 ?
Turning right, so it will be a departure on runway 19.
Quickly engines are set to take off thrust, and you can fell it! This little jet looks well powered. But it's also a bit noisy on take off.
Rotation few meters before crossing the runway 25L
Slight turn on the left to take the heading to Basel as we are climbing around the clouds.
We are flying other the Beauvechain Air Base home of the 1st Wing who's flying Agusta 109 transport/attack helicopter.
We are crossing few miles of wallonia country.
Soon we are climbing above the clouds, ending the ground landscape sight view.
Cabin is almost full but quiet, for the service, as usual for Brussels Airlines, the Buy on board trolley is showing on the aisle. Not really a large success on this short flight.
The outside view is still cloudy, lets have a look on the seat pocket in front of us. We can found the safety card, buy on board brochure and In flight magazine "B Inspired"
Inside it you can find a nice fleet introduction with the SSJ integrated on it.
Hard to tell you witch route we took for the flight, but flightradar24 can answer at this question !
The flight is short and we are quickly starting our descent with a bit of spoiler's help.
The ground is now visible again with the help of a small sun ray.
Former French air forces base BA132 of Colmar Meyenheim not used anymore for air operations but still hosting some army installations.
As you can see the weather on final for the runway 15 is not so good.
But the landing is smooth on the Basel runway.
The terminal is on sight.
And we are quickly vacating the illuminated runway.
The taxiing is slow, we are following a "Follow me" car, who's getting us to our parking stand.
On our way we are passing near this Wizz air hungary A320 starting is engine before going back to Skopje in Macedonia.
Last turn before stopping the engine. Our airplane is parked on a parking close to the terminal but without jetbridge.
Time for me to exit this nice looking aircraft by the forward front door. Before leaving I just ask to the cabin manager if it's possible to have a look inside cockpit. Granted by the friendly female first officer ! This little jet born in the east has a modern looking pilot interface with many screens, very similar to the Airbus A320 (sorry no pictures I didn't want to disturb them too much)
Inside the terminal we get through immigration checks, on the way you can see this ad for a digital watch an heresy in Switzerland country
Welcome to Basel !
Ground side, of Swiss side of the terminal. It's interesting to see that this airport look symmetrical on his two side one in Switzerland and the other France .
I went outside, a cold breeze welcomes me.
The bus stop is just in front of the ground floor terminal doors, I took the bus number 50 to Basel Hbf located on the city center for just 4€. The trip took's approximately 20 minutes.
I hope you enjoy this old flight report, coming from … another time…
Take care and I hope to publish new reports soon on the English counterpart of our website.
Really good flight from Cityjet for Brussels Airlines, original aircraft and really friendly crews from front to the back. A nice flight experience on a casual line.
Brussels Airlines (Cityjet):
Cabin : The Superjet is a pleasant aircraft, with a high comfort standard (large pitch, big seats) just few small items are badly design and it's a bit noisy inside. Definitely it's look like a beta version of the Airbus A220.
Crew : Just perfect, efficient, friendly... they look to like there job kudos to them.
Catering : Buy on board like all Brussels Airlines European flights, it was not so common on 2018.
Entertainment: Window seat + on board magazine sufficient for the 45 min of the flight. Good point to offer some goodies to children.