MC-21-310 73055 test aircraft

State carrier Belavia could be a customer for the Russian MC-21 jet, says UAC

The statement was made after a visit by the President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, to the facilities of the United Aircraft Corporation. The airline currently flies Boeing 737 and Embraer E-Jets

Belarusian state airline Belavia could be the first foreign operator of the MC-21-310 commercial aircraft under development in Russia.

The statement came from the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), the parent company that has the country’s largest aircraft manufacturers under its umbrella, during Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s visit to the Irkutsk facility.

In addition to seeing the Su-30SM fighter assembly line and the Yak-130 training plane, Lukashenko got to know the MC-21, a narrow-body jet with capacity for up to 211 passengers.

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According to Yuri Slyusar, general director of UAC, Belavia has already expressed interest in acquiring the MC-21. The airline’s fleet currently consists of eight Boeing 737s, one of them a MAX 8, and five Embraer E-Jets (one E175 and four E195s).

Belavia once flew with three leased E195-E2s, but amid sanctions on Belarus for supporting Russia in its actions in Ukraine, the aircraft were taken back by the lessor and are now flying on the airline TUi Fly.

MC-21 in the assembly line (UAC)

Delayed schedule

The MC-21 began development last decade as a competitor to the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737. The original design included several Western components such as the Pratt & Whitney GTF engines.

The sanctions launched against Russia, however, cut off the supply of these items and the UAC then started working on a variant with local content, the MC-21-310.

There were two prototypes equipped with Russian PD-14 engines in addition to at least one aircraft with composite wings manufactured in the country, but the current stage of development is unknown.

MC-21 with Rossiya livery (Irkut)

In February, Rostec CEO Sergei Chemezov, the 211-seat aircraft is only expected to enter service in 2025 or 2026. Until then, launch customer Rossiya Airlines was expected to receive the first aircraft in 2024.

The UAC stated that it is looking for partners to produce its aircraft and considers Belarus as a potential supplier of components, revealing that companies in the country would already be supporting the resumption of production of the Tu-214 jet.

“As for the MC-21, we are interested in expanding the range of potential operators, including Belavia Airlines. The more experience we have in operating different airlines, the more it will allow us to improve our aircraft,” said Yuri Slyusar.

Belavia former E195-E2
Belavia former E195-E2

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