In a bold attempt to rescue Russia's civil aircraft manufacturers, Red Wings, owned by Rostec will buy up to 60 Sukhoi Super Jet (SSJ) 100 and 16 MC-21 airliners by 2024.
“By 2024, Red Wings is required to purchase up to 60 SSJ100s and 16 MC-21s. We will create an airline that will focus on operating Russian-made aircraft,” Yury Borisov, Russia’s vice-prime minister, revealed in an interview with the state-owned Rossiya 1 TV broadcasting company.
On May 13, delivery schedule for the aircraft was presented to President Vladimir Putin during a meeting dedicated to supporting Russian aerospace and airline industries owing to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
Red Wings which is one of Russia's few profitable carriers operating four Airbus A320s and 16 A321s, will expand its fleet by more than three times with the addition of the SS J100s and MC-21s.
The SSJ 100 is a troubled program with two crashes in the past 8 years including a 2012 demonstration flight in Indonesia that crashed into a mountainside killing 37 passenger and 8 crew members. On May 5, 2019, 41 of 78 on board were killed when a lightning-hit SSJ 100 caught fire in Moscow airport.
Red Wings will be granted certain preferences for leasing planes, subsidies in flight hours and low cost fares to new routes- Siberia and Far East of Russia.
“At the same time, this airline will be the basis for a new ‘role-model’ system for maintenance and repairs, to bring operations in line with global standards, so that there are no more accusations that Russian aircraft are second to western competitors in operating efficiency. This model will then be reproduced to support other airlines,” Borisov added.
The United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) which manufactures both the aircraft is also a subsidiary of Rostec Corp., a state-owned company.