The SaM146 engine has been developed by PowerJet, a joint venture of the French firm Snecma and the Russian scientific and production association Saturn.
"The in-flight tests of the SaM146 engine on board an Il-76LL 'flying research laboratory' will start later this week," Mikhail Pogosyan announced at the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace (LIMA) 2007 exhibition in Malaysia.
"Based on the results of the tests, will be able to determine the date for the maiden flight of the Russian SuperJet 100 regional aircraft, which was previously scheduled for December 2007," the Sukhoi official said.
Pogosyan said that successful tests of the engine would allow Sukhoi to start mass production of the plane simultaneously with its certification in 2008.
The family of medium-haul passenger aircraft was designed by the Sukhoi Design Bureau in cooperation with major American and European aviation corporations, including Boeing, Snecma, Thales, Messier Dowty, Liebherr Aerospace, and Honeywell.
Sukhoi plans to produce at least 700 SuperJet 100s, and intends to sell 35% of them to North America, 25% to Europe, 10% to Latin America, and 7% to Russia and China.
The overall market for the SuperJet 100 is estimated at about 5,500 planes, worth $100 billion, up to 2023.
So far, Sukhoi Civil Aircraft, a subsidiary of the Sukhoi holding, has secured over 60 orders for its regional aircraft. Aeroflot, Russia's leading air carrier, is one of the largest clients, with contracts for the delivery of at least 45 planes.