Production of Russia’s newest narrow-body airliner the MC-21 will start in 2019, according to the government press office. Irkut Corporation plans initial production of 20 planes a year, increasing to 70 by 2023.
The aircraft is expected to compete with the Boeing 737, Airbus A320 and China’s COMAC C919.
“We plan to complete the testing in 2018. We are starting the second stage of flight testing for the PD-14 engine. The airliner will be powered only by Russian-made jet engines starting in spring 2019,” said Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin at the meeting chaired by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.
The first examples of the airliner are to be powered by Pratt & Whitney PW1400G engines, while those for the domestic market will use the new PD-14 engine.
The Prime Minister ordered a rethink of the commercial prospects for the plane, as new contracts could boost the country’s economy. According to Rogozin, the issue will be discussed at a meeting of the aviation board.
Rogozin said the new aircraft would be sold with a ‘full circle contract’ meaning the manufacturer will be responsible for the planes through delivery until they are operating on revenue earning flights.
“As the МС-21 is ahead of its rivals, Boeing and Airbus. We are seeking to announce the price which will be much more competitive than the one set by US and European colleagues,” Rogozin said.
The Irkut MC-21-300 is a narrow-body airliner that was rolled out almost a year ago. The first version of the plane can carry up to 211 passengers a distance of up to 6,000 kilometers.
The plane made its maiden flight in Irkutsk in Eastern Siberia on Sunday. Certification of the MC-21 in Russia is planned for 2018 with European Aviation Safety Agency approval expected a year later.
The manufacturer has reportedly signed contracts for 285 planes with domestic airlines with 185 down payments already made.