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Russian government proposes Pobeda Airlines to consider MC-21 instead of 737 MAX

Moscow - The Russian government recommends Pobeda Airlines to place orders for Irkut MC-21 instead of Boeing 737 MAX.

Last year, Aeroflot subsidiary Pobeda submitted an application requesting the Russian government to approve an order for up to 50 Boeing 737 MAX jets. The airline so far received government approval for only 20 units and signed a firm order agreement with Boeing with deliveries set from 2019 to 2021.

But for the additional 30 Boeing 737 MAX, the Russian government is reluctant to give approval and asks the Russian low-cost operator to consider placing orders for Irkut's MC-21 for additional jetliners needed to expand the airline's fleet beyond 2022.

Pobeda is an all-Boeing operator with 26 Boeing 737-800 in service and four more on order.

The current procedure, which requests all state-run airlines to get government approval for their orders was created last year as a result of western sanctions against the Russian Federation.

The Russian flag carrier Aeroflot, which is also the parent company of Pobeda Airlines, has already placed an order for 50 MC-21.

The aircraft is currently under a certification campaign. The third prototype of the MC-21-300, which is the first unit equipped with the passenger cabin, made its maiden flight on March 16.

"Video: Third prototype of Irkut MC-21 takes off"

However, the serial production of the Russian single-aisle has been postponed from 2020 to 2021 due to the imposed US sanctions. The wing structure of the aircraft contains composite materials that are subject to the sanctions and now unlikely to be shipped by the suppliers American Hexcel and Japanese Toray Industries.