Irkut is carrying out passenger test flights with its new MC-21-300 commercial jet. According to Rostec, the Russian aircraft had already performed 12 flights on several domestic routes, all of them with group employees on board.
The state-owned technology company explained that the flights allow for a complete assessment of the aircraft after separate performance and systems assessments have been carried out.
The MC-21-300 is scheduled to debut in service in September 2022 with the airline Rossiya Airlines. The company should receive four jets in the second half of the year, the first of which had its assembly completed in November and is preparing for its maiden flight.
The MC-21 program plans three single-aisle jet versions, the -300 being the intermediate, for up to 211 seats. The maiden flight of the first test plane took place in 2017 and now the prototype 001 is about to have its PW1400G engines replaced by the Russian-produced PD-14 turbofan.
United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) intends to accelerate the development of the MC-21-310 variant, which is equipped with indigenous engines. The reason is that the US government has limited the supply of components to Russia as a trade sanction against Vladimir Putin’s administration.
UAC claims to have 175 firm orders for the MC-21, almost all from Russian airlines or neighboring nations. After Rossiya, Red Wings is expected to become the second customer of the jetliner, with the delivery of the first planes in 2023.