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Deliveries to launch customer Aeroflot of Russia’s advanced narrow-body MC-21 aircraft project have been postponed until 2021, Sergey Chemezov, head of Rostec corporation, the new parent of Irkut, the aircraft’s manufacturer, has confirmed.
“Serial production of the MC-21 will be delayed until 2021. Aeroflot won’t receive the first aircraft before 2021,” he has revealed to state-controlled news wire TASS.
Chemezov points out that Aeroflot will get no compensation for the delivery delay. “I don’t think Aeroflot should impose any fines [on the manufacturer] because it is an unavoidable event in that sanctions applied by another state are [legally] classified as a force-majeure.
This situation allows us to avoid Aeroflot’s economic claims [for damages]. So far we haven’t discussed this matter, but we have sent the relevant letter to Aeroflot,” the head of Rostec explains. Rostec owns 3.5 per cent of Aeroflot’s shares and Chemezov has been a member of Aeroflot’s board of directors since 2011.
He has also revealed that production of the MC-21’s composite wing made entirely from Russian ingredients will start shortly. “The composite material has been created, it is now being tested. I hope that soon we will start producing the wing and testing it on the aircraft,” the head of Rostec reports.
At the beginning of this year, Chemezov said that serial production of the MC-21 would be pushed back to late 2020 because a Russian-made composite wing needed to be manufactured. Russia’s vice-premier Yury Borisov later said that production would be shifted to 2021 and that specialist company Aerocomposite has already produced the first wing parts from Russian-made composites.
Obstacles affecting the deliveries of composites first surfaced in September 2018 when the USA imposed sanctions against Russian producers, namely Aerocomposite (which is part of UAC) and ONPP Tekhnologiya (part of Rostec), in an action that prevented the USA’s Hexcel and Japan’s Toray from supplying the composite materials for the MC-21.
According to some data, the remaining stock of western-supplied composites is enough to produce only six aircraft.
Rostec, Russia’s state-owned technology and aviation giant, is currently in the process of taking over the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) – the parent company of Russia’s major aircraft manufacturers Sukhoi, MiG and Irkut from their current owner the Federal agency for state-owned property management. The integration process is due to be completed in 2020.