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The first public appearance of the MC-21-300 airliner

Irkut rolls out the first MC-21 narrowbody airliner

Irkut Corporation, part of Russia's United Aircraft Corp. (UAC), officially rolled out the first MC-21 narrowbody airliner on June 8. The ceremony marks the first time the MC-21-300 has made a public appearance at Irkutsk Aviation Plant.

The official ceremony was attended by Dmitry Medvedev, the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, representatives of federal and regional authorities, heads of cooperating enterprises, and delegations of current and prospective MC-21 customers.

Yury Slyusar, president of UAC, emphasized that creation of MC-21 aircraft was the first time that UAC enterprises (including Aviastar-SP and newly established AeroCompozit and UAC-Aggregation Center) operated under a unified plan to create a new aircraft.

The aircraft will not begin flight testing anytime soon. Irkut has said that it cannot complete the ground checks required for the first flight before 2017. The newly rolled out prototype is powered by Pratt & Whitney PW1431G engines. Russian certification and service entry of the -300 is planned for 2018. MC-21 customers have a choice of two engines: the PW1431G or the indigenous Aviadvigatel PD-14. First flight of an MC-21 equipped with PD-14 engines is expected to take place until 2018.

Program plans call for the MC-21-300 model to be followed by the shortened, 135-176 passenger MC-21-200. UAC and Irkut have so far committed to development of these two models only. Some uncertainty surrounds the future of the proposed stretched MC-21 version, the 178-230 passenger MC-21-400. It is possible that the -400 could ultimately be dropped. The assembly line at Irkut's main manufacturing facility in Irkutsk, Russia will have the capacity to produce up to 70 MC-21s per year.

Early MC-21 customers are predominantly from Russia, and Russian customers will likely account for the bulk of MC-21 sales going forward. The MC-21 will have difficulty achieving large-scale penetration of Western markets due to competition from the well-established and popular Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 aircraft families. The introduction of the re-engined A320neo and 737 MAX variants only adds to the MC-21's competitive challenges.

Press release issued by Irkutsk Aviation Plant on June 8, 2016


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