Irkut's MC-21-300 to be cheaper than its western counterparts


Moscow - The Russian manufacturer UAC revealed that the MC-21-300 would be sold cheaper than its western counterparts. The narrow-body airliner will be introduced to the market with an attractive list price of $96.1 million.

The similar-sized narrow-bodies produced by western aircraft manufacturers are some 15 to 20 percent more expensive than their Russian rival. For instance, a 162-seater Boeing 737 MAX-8 is listed at $117.1 million while its European competitor, the 165-seater Airbus A320neo, is listed at $110.6 million.

Yury Slyusar, president of the United Aircraft Corporation, has also stated that the airlines operating the MC-21 on short and medium-haul routes could save as much as $2 million a year on their operating costs compared to Airbus A320neo and Boeing 737 MAX series aircraft.

Russia’s flagship commercial airliner has so far received only 175 firm orders from mainly Russian airline operators. But Slyusar thinks that that number is adequate to launch the aircraft's serial production. The production will start with ten copies per year and then reach 70 aircraft by 2025.

The MC-21 family will include the163-seater MC-21-300, 132-seater MC-21-200 and 212-seater MC-21-400 respectively.

The A321neo competitor MC-21-400 has already recorded orders from Russia's second largest operator S7 Airlines, Kazakhstan’s flag carrier Air Astana, and Ural Airlines.

There are currently three test aircraft involved in the certification campaign. Two of them are already flying, and the third one is imposed to static tests at the Central Aero-Hydrodynamic Institute (TsAGI). Both flying prototypes are equipped with PW1400G engines. But a Russian-made engine, PD-14, will be used for testing in the second quarter of next year.

Aeroflot will be the launch customer of the aircraft. The Russian flag carrier has 50 MC-21 in its order book. It will take over the first copy in the first quarter of 2020.

UAC is in talks with Irkutsk-based IrAero, a local start-up Azimuth Airlines, and Utair. All these carriers currently operate another Russian airliner Sukhoi Superjet 100 (SSJ100).