MC-21 adds a further 20 potential ‘soft orders’ to its sales portfolio

MC-21 The portfolio of firm orders for the MC-21 remains unchanged at 175 aircraft (Egor Shitov // @jet spotting)

The public premiere at the Moscow MAKS-2019 air show has revealed that the new Russian-made MC-21 narrow-body airliner has increased its portfolio of sales options by 20 aircraft.

According to Ravil Khakimov, the recently appointed general director of Irkut Corporation, the developer of the Russian aircraft, the company has now signed agreements of intent for five aircraft with Russian regional airline Yakutia, 10 with Kazakhstan carrier Bek Air and five more for an undisclosed customer.

The MC-21 portfolio of firm orders remains unchanged at 175 aircraft. At Zhukovsky, three prototypes of the MC-21-300 basic version are currently involved in certification tests. The head of Irkut has confirmed that it is planned to complete these tests and obtain a type certificate at the end of 2020. Deliveries should begin in the second half of 2021.

The first MC-21 is due to be delivered to the country’s flag carrier Aeroflot, which has already committed to 50 of the new aircraft (to be leased through Avia Capital Services). Furthermore, it is expected that, before the first quarter of 2021, the Russian national carrier will also convert its preliminary agreement for the purchase of another 35 aircraft into firm contracts, Khakimov has promised.

A basic type certificate will initially be issued to the MC-21-300 – powered by the US-made PW1400G engines. Separately, in April of this year, Irkut submitted an application for certification for the aircraft powered by Russian PD-14 engines, adds Konstantin Popovich, chief designer of the project. The Russian powerplants will be installed on the fifth prototype, which is to begin flights next year. The certification for such a modification of the MC-21 is expected in 2021.

Irkut has also applied for a supplemental type certificate for a variant with a composite wing made entirely of Russian materials, the need for which arose as a result of the US-imposed sanctions on the supply of composite raw materials to Russian specialist companies Aerocomposite and ONPP Technologiya, which have produced composite wings for the MC-21 model. The search for suitable substitute Russian raw materials for the wings held up the certification of the aircraft for a minimum of six months.

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