The United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) plans to sign a firm contract with Russia’s flagship airline Aeroflot this year for the delivery of 50 MC-21 medium-haul airliners, said UAC President Yuri Slyusar.
“I can’t tell you exactly so far about a firm contract for the MC-21 [signing at the MAKS airshow outside Moscow]. But we’ll surely sign a contract with our participation and the participation of Aviakapital-Servis and Aeroflot during 2017,” he said.
The MC-21 is the family of short-and medium-haul narrow-body airliners intended to replace Tupolev Tu-134 and Tu-154 planes and also their Western rivals.
In Russia’s new history, only one airliner, the regional Sukhoi Superjet 100, has been manufactured from scratch. The plane performed the first flight in 2008 and was made operational in 2011.
The MC-21 has a flight range of 6,400 kilometers (3,977 miles), while the Sukhoi Superjet 100 can fly at a distance of 4,578 kilometers (2,845 miles). The MC-21 will be able to carry 211 passengers, while the Sukhoi Superjet 100 airliner’s seating capacity is 108.
The first flight of the MC-21 airliner was scheduled for December 2016 and its serial assembly was planned to begin in 2017. Later, the first flight was postponed to April and then to late May. The airliner performed its debut flight on May 28, 2017 in Irkutsk.
The current portfolio of orders for MC-21 is 285 airliners, 185 of which have been contracted on prepayment. The first client is Russia’s Aeroflot, which plans to have 50 MC-21 in its fleet. In April, the company’s director general, Vitaly Savelyev, said they expect the first three airliners in 2019.