UAC is not expected to mass-produce the Il-96-400M, the Russian newspaper Vedomosti said, citing sources. Assembled by Voronezh Aircraft Manufacturing Company (VASO), part of the state conglomerate, the four-engine jet is a larger variant of the widebody with a capacity of up to 370 seats.
“There is no order from the airlines and, taking into account the COVID-19 and the downtime of long-haul aircraft around the world, the series production of the Il-96-400M is not yet planned,” said Deputy Prime Minister of Russia Yury Ivanovich Borisov.
According to people familiar with the matter, VASO will complete the assembly of just two Il-96-400Ms, which will be delivered to Rossiya Airlines, a state carrier used by senior government officials.
Rostec, a state-owned technology company in the Russian government, explained to the newspaper that the four-engine jet was not intended for mass production. Instead, its mission is to serve as a special aircraft, with one-off orders.
The Il-96-400M has emerged as a cheaper and faster alternative to offer a long-haul and large-capacity aircraft to Russian airlines while the CR929 widebody project with China is not ready.
However, even with low complexity, the four-engine has a very late schedule. The original forecast was for production to start in 2019, but not even the first test aircraft was completed, which should happen in the coming months, as far as is known.
The big difference in relation to the Il-96-300 is the increase in the length of the fuselage to allow the transport of more passengers. The jet, however, continues to use the inefficient PS-90A turbojets, but in a more powerful version.
Ilyushin says the “glass cockpit” allows the crew to be made up of three people, which is contradictory to Western standards.
The manufacturer also adds that the fuselage received new and lighter materials that reduced the weight of the jet in addition to aerodynamic improvements to the wings.
The aircraft is 64 meters long and has a wingspan of 60 meters. With a capacity of 150,000 liters of fuel, the Il-96-400 will be able to fly for 8,750 km, according to official data.