Irkut Corp of Russia has started tooling, raw material sourcing and other preparations for the mass-production of the MC-21-300 passenger aircraft even as the airliner is undergoing its final set of certification tests.
Ravil Hakimiv, General Director of Irkut together other company executives said during a press conference at MAKS 2019 event in Moscow that all the main confirmation tests to prove the main characteristics of the aircraft had been completed.
The company was planning a production run of 72 aircraft in the first year of production which amounted to six airplanes a month which could go up to 100 aircraft if demand increased. As of now, Irkut had a firm order for 150 aircraft from Aeroflot. A contract for 20 jets had been signed during MAKS 2019 for 15 aircraft from Irkutia and another Russian carrier.
International interest was high in the carrier and during presentations at the Paris Air Show 2019, potential customers had commented that the MC-21 had the potential to be world leading single aisle passenger airline.
Kirill Budaev, Deputy CEO, sales and marketing of Irkut said that the aircraft offered a combination of passenger capacity, fuel economy, interior comfort and ease of maintenance which no other airliner could match.
Konstatin Popovich, MC-21 chief designer said that Irkut was not just working on setting of manufacturing capacity but also spares parts production, pilot and crew training and addressing other matters to make the aircraft fit comfortably in the inventory of airlines without any starting hiccups.
From the outset, customers would be offered a choice of two engines- a Russian UEC made PD-14 engine and a Pratt & Whitney made engine. It was up to the customer to select what he wanted, he said.
The PD-14 engine would be tested from the fourth prototype onwards and certifications obtained for that aircraft/engine combination.
Asked if the problems with Boeing 737 Max jet had opened a marketing opportunity for MC-21, Budaev said that the problems were a short-time set back for Boeing while the MC-21 will be in the skies only in 2022.