Aeroflot will boost Russian production of jetliners with a massive order of 323 aircraft. The main Russian airline detailed the plan to replace Airbus and Boeing jets in a meeting with President Vladimir Putin.
The order includes 73 SSJ100 and 210 MC-21 variants being developed with Russian components, as well as 40 Tupolev Tu-214 aircraft, Aeroflot CEO Sergei Alexandrovsky said in a statement released by the Kremlin.
Aeroflot’s plan is a strategic vision for 2030, aimed at reducing Russian aviation’s dependence on Western components, with a subsidy from the Putin government, which has already passed 10.3 billion rubles (about $168 million) to the company in May. The Russian government owns more than 70% of Aeroflot shares.
Currently, the Aeroflot group has 120 Airbus A320 and 91 Boeing 737 family aircraft, in addition to 76 first-generation SSJ100s, which use turbofans and avionics produced by foreign manufacturers. With a lack of parts, some of these models are already being dismantled to keep the fleet in the air.
The order is also expected to give a boost to the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), which makes the SSJ100 and MC-21. The company should now focus on the certification of aircraft with local equipment, which has not yet taken place.
The MC-21 is the most advanced Russian commercial jet, with capacity for up to 211 passengers, similar in size to an Airbus A321. The model, designed to be a global product, initially had Pratt & Whitney PW1400G engines but Western embargoes made UAC change plans.
The PW1400G engines were exchanged for PD-14 turbofans, made by United Engine Corporation (UEC-Aviadvigatel). The new “Russian” variant, called the MC-21-310, first flew in December 2020 and by August had completed at least 100 of the 240 certification flights.
The SSJ100, a 100-seat regional jet that did not have the international success expected, will also have a new variant with local equipment, including the PD-8 engine.
Rebirth of the Tu-214
Even the obsolete Tu-214, a single-aisle model developed during the Soviet Union, will have a life span while the new aircraft are not certified. Production of the Tu-214 to replace Western planes began in April this year.
The mid-sized twin-engine Tu-214 (developed from the Tu-204) is a commercial aircraft that could be compared to the Boeing 757, which ceased production in 2004.
Despite being the only example of its class still in production, Tupolev’s latest commercial jet is almost anonymous. There are currently around 30 Tu-204/214s in operation by companies from just three countries: Russia, Egypt and North Korea. The aircraft are used on domestic and international routes and are also present in the cargo segment.
The maiden flight of the Tu-204 took place in 1989 and the first planes debuted in commercial aviation in 1995. According to the manufacturer’s data, the aircraft has the capacity to carry 210 passengers and perform flights of up to 5,800 km, a performance slightly below the 757.