Economy

Irkut MC-21 makes first flight

Irkut MC-21 makes first flight

"The flight was fine, there were no observations which will prevent further testing", test pilot Oleg Kononenko was quoted as saying.

Putin reportedly reached out to Irkut's director Oleg Demchenko to congratulate him on the "momentous occasion".

America's Boeing and Europe's Airbus remain far ahead of their Chinese and Russian rivals, with bigger sales books and more advanced technical know-how.

Russian Federation surprised the aviation world on May 28 with the maiden flight of its new MS-21 medium-range passenger plane, creating a rival for its Western competitors with its first post-Soviet mainstream commercial airliner.

Production of the MC-21 is expected to start in the next two years.

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"The flight plan included checking of in-flight stability and controllability, and also the controllability of the power plant".

In a surprise statement, manufacturer Irkut Corporation and its state-controlled parent company United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) said an MS-21-300 model had successfully completed a 30-minute flight at a height of 1,000 metres and travelling at 300 km an hour.

"This is an important stage in the formation of the new UAC industrial model". This option is a first for aircraft manufacturing in Russian Federation. According to the designers, calculated reduction of direct operational costs for MC-21 is 12-15% lower than for counterparts.

"We have become the first and the largest customer to procure MC-21 aircraft, and we have signed a firm contract on 85 planes". It can be a competition in theory, but I cannot say anything on whether it can be a competition in practice.

The current portfolio of orders for MC-21 is 285 airliners, 185 of which have been contracted on prepayment.

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While the Russian aerospace industry has lagged USA and European companies, Airbus and Boeing are closely watching the new jet's progress.

Russia's state development bank Vnesheconombank (VEB) Chairman Sergei Gorkov said Sunday that the bank had invested $90 million in the creation of the first copy of the MC-21 aircraft.

According to Gorkov, VEB's subsidiary VEB-leasing has ordered 30 MC-21 planes.

Russia's commercial aerospace industry has struggled over the past quarter century to regain the strength it had during the Soviet era.

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