As was expected, Aeroflot will support the Russian aeronautical industry out of ostracism by closing a lease order for 339 new jets produced in the country.
The agreement was announced on Wednesday during the VII Eastern Economic Forum, which is being held in Vladivostok. According to United Aircraft Corporation, the main Russian airline will receive 210 MC-21, 89 SSJ-New and 40 Tu-214 jets between 2023 and 2030.
The first two aircraft, the SSJ-New model, a domestic version of the SSJ100, will be delivered as early as 2023, despite the aircraft still being under development.
In 2024, the plan is to deliver six MC-21s equipped with Russian PD-14 engines and seven Tu-214s, which are back on the assembly line after several years.
“Boeing and Airbus aircraft, which will likely never be delivered to Russia again, will be replaced by Russian-made passenger jets. Of the 339 aircraft, nearly 300 are new generation MC-21 and Superjet aircraft. will become a reliable support for them – this aircraft was previously produced for special customers and has proven itself well,” said Sergey Chemezov, managing director of Rostec State Corporation, which is the state-owned company that controls UAC.
“The signing of this Agreement clearly demonstrates to the entire world that Russia is a great aeronautical power with great potential and rich experience in the field of aircraft manufacturing, capable of producing reliable and modern aircraft,” said Sergey Aleksandrovsky, CEO of Aeroflot.
Despite Russian optimism, the production of the new jets is still dubious. Russia already suffered from embargoes from the West before invading Ukraine and today this situation is even more delicate.
The SSJ-New, which replaces about 97% of Western components, depends on the certification of the PD-8 turbofan, crucial for UAC to abandon the PowerJet SaM146 engine, which was made in partnership with France’s Safran.
Until then, the goal was to obtain aircraft certification in 2023 so that deliveries could begin in 2024.
The MC-21, the most advanced commercial aircraft ever developed in Russia, already has a prototype with PD-14 engines while Irkut, its manufacturer, changes the first test plane to replace its PW1400G engines, from Pratt & Whitney. Given the originality of the project, the pace of production should take time to reach a significant level.
Finally, the Tu-214 is an aircraft that is obsolete by Western standards, but it depends only on Russian suppliers. It is a shortcut for the country’s airlines to rely on a replacement for Boeing and Airbus aircraft as the spare parts shortages advance.