The MC-21 airliner of Irkut Corp will mark its first flight at the MAKS Moscow Air Show 2015. The manufacturer expects certification by 2017 and customer deliveries to commence by by 2020, said Kyrill Budaev, Vice-president Marketing of Irkut Corp. at the Paris Air show 2013.
Amidst reports that the project had been delayed, Kyrill Budaev, Vice-president Marketing of Irkut Corp., said that the development of the passenger jetliner is on schedule with Irkut and its different partners as engine supplier Pratt and Whitney, avionics supplier Zodiac Aviation and others clearly committed to the on-schedule completion of the project.
When asked by defenseworld.net if the next edition of the Paris show will see the MC-21 in metal, he said, “not at Paris, but the 2015 MAKS show”. The reason for the MC-21 to hit the runways on schedule are its firm orders- some 250 notched up from Russian carriers and leasing companies in addition to international orders in the from of “options”.
Likely countries where the MC-21 has evinced keen interest include Malaysia, India and countries in South America.
While the MC-21 mock-up has been doing the round of air shows around the world., the absence of the real aircraft in static display has got a section of the media doubt that everything is alright with the development process.
Budaev however, is quick to dismiss the speculation. The mock-up is a real-representation of the potential aircraft and is intended to show to the world how different the MC-21 will be from competing aircraft, he adds.
The MC-21 has been designed to be carry about 25% more passengers in greater comfort than a comparable Boeing or Airbus, he asserts with confidence while at the same time being more fuel-efficient with lesser emissions.
However, until the aircraft is flying the assertions of fuel-efficiency and emissions will not be proved. What has certainly got the market excited is the interior of the MC-21.
The passenger cabin feels distinctly wide-body for a single-aisle aircraft with more aisle space, more headroom and more overhead compartment space than a Boeing 737 or an Airbus A320. The seats in economy class have a cossetting feel to them and not the hard narrow seats you find in economy class of most airlines.
He says the financing of the aircraft development has been tied up with Russian banks guaranteeing US$5 billion to take the project to fruition. To make it easy for airlines to buy the MC-21, Irkut is also working on a financing model with banks financing the purchase of the aircraft.
Budaev is confident that the plane will do well in the world market as he feels that the future demand curve will seek aircraft of the MC-21 type. The MC-21’s unique selling proposition is cheaper acquisition cost and cheaper maintenance and more earnings per flight for airlines.
“Airlines can offer seats at a lower price and still make a profit”, he adds. And the disadvantages? “There are none”, he says with a smile.