Russian flagship carrier Aeroflot has signed a contract with Rostec Corporation for 50 Irkut MC-21 medium-range narrowbody passenger aircraft. The landmark contract, signed on February 1, calls for deliveries of the Russian-designed airliners to begin in Q1 2020.
Rostec’s subsidiary lessor Avia Capital Services will supply the 50 MC-21-300 airframes under an operating lease contract, making Aeroflot the largest operator of the type. The last of the batch should join the carrier’s fleet in 2026.
The contract is being lauded as a great comeback for the Russian civil aviation industry. Says Rostec CEO Sergey Chemezov: “This agreement underscores that Russia’s civil aviation industry is making a comeback and taking its proper place among the leading global manufacturers.”
He is seconded by Aeroflot CEO Vitaly Savelyev: “The MC-21 represents a genuine breakthrough for the aviation industry. The signing of a firm order for 50 such aircraft is a landmark event not just for our two companies but for our country in general. Russian manufacturers have created the first next-generation passenger aircraft, marking the country’s return as a global aviation leader.”
The new aircraft will be delivered in a 169-seat configuration, with 16 seats in business class and 153 in economy. The first part of the batch will be delivered with foreign-made engines. From the 26th aircraft on, Aeroflot is free to choose Russian-built Aviadvigatel PD-14 powerplants; the engine is currently undergoing certification testing.
Each aircraft will be leased for 12 years, with the option of two-year extensions for not more than three times. The lease payments and the sums secured towards maintenance will total over $5 billion. Aeroflot plans to operate the aircraft on both domestic and international routes.
Aeroflot is Russia’s largest carrier, having served 32.8 million passengers in 2017. As a member of SkyTeam, an international airline alliance, it has access to a route network spanning 177 countries, partially supported by alliance partners.
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