Russia’s Irkut MC-21-300 made a significant regulatory leap this week, with the plane receiving its initial type certification. The Rosaviatsia cleared the MC-21 for sales, leaving only a few more steps before the aircraft can begin deliveries and passengers.
The Irkut MC-21-300 is hoping to challenge the dominance of Boeing and Airbus. Photo: Rostec
In a statement on Tuesday, Russian state-owned manufacturer Rostec announced that the Irkut MC-21-300 has received its initial type certification from the Rosaviatsia (Russia’s aviation regulator). The clearance is an essential step for Irkut and allows the MC-21-300 to boost mass production.
The first MC-21 is scheduled for delivery in 2022, leaving a matter of months before the plane is flying passengers. In a statement about certification, Rostec CEO Sergey Chemezov said,
“The obtaining of the Type Certificate from the Federal Air Transport Agency is the most important event for the MC-21 project and the aviation industry. The document confirms that the aircraft is ready for mass production and sales. The aircraft is modern, beautiful, and literally world-class, with a large number of design innovations and the largest cabin among its peers. I’m sure both airlines and passengers will appreciate it”
The MC-21-300 was spotted at the Dubai Air Show last month. Photo: Tom Boon | Simple Flying
The aircraft has made several breakthroughs in recent weeks. Last Saturday, the MC-21 flew with the first Russian-made composite wings. The move underscored the reliance on homegrown technologies for the MC-21, moving away from importing key parts of the aircraft.
As the year comes to an end, the MC-21 is set to face a number of crucial hurdles. With Irkut planning the first delivery to Rossiya Airlines in 2022, the aircraft has clear final clearances from regulators. In total, Rossiya will take six MC-21s next year, meaning deliveries are likely to begin in the first half of the year.
The PD-14 has been custom-built for the MC-21 and will become an option for airlines in the future. Photo: Tom Boon | Simple Flying
The first MC-21s will come equipped with Pratt & Whitney PW1431G engines and not the indigenous PD-14 ones. However, with the latter also coming closer to certification, future MC-21s could come with Russian engines as well.
With capacity for 163 to 211 passengers, the MC-21-300 is a direct response to the Boeing 737 MAX and Airbus A320neo. The pair have long dominated the narrowbody market, delivering thousands of planes in the last few years. However, Russia is hoping to break into the market and disrupt the status quo.
The MC-21’s biggest advantage is the presence of a sprawling domestic market. Once Russian airlines begin flying the jet, it will likely see sales pick up globally. However, pushing airlines to move away from the tried and trusted 737s and A320s won’t be an easy task.
The MC-21 does lack the range and capacity of the larger narrowbody equivalents, meaning it will be restricted to short or medium-haul routes. Photo: UAC
For now, the MC-21-300 looks all set to enter service next year and shake up the aviation market.
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