Russia's Irkut Narrowbody Grabs The Spotlight

Russian company Irkut just unveiled its new 160- to 212-seat narrowbody named Irkut MC-21-300. Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev attended the unveiling and stated that “plans for first flight within a year”. Also at the event was Irkut vice president of marketing Kirill Budaev who mentioned the potential to replace some of the Western partners on the program in the future once Russian companies can develop up to Western standards.

Budaev stated “We are trying to keep a balance,” he said.
For sure we have an interest in both [Western and Russian suppliers]. We need to satisfy international airlines and they need international suppliers for sure. And we need to satisfy the Russian aviation industry because we need to force them to develop. We expect that, sooner or later, local Russian manufacturers will be at least at the same level as international ones.

Irkuts’ suppliers involve Lufthansa Technik for MRO support and Pratt & Whitney for their PW1400G geared turbofans. They also use AeroComposit in Ulyanovsk, Russia, for the construction of Irkuts’ aircraft wings which use an out-of-autoclave resin transfer infusion process never before tried on a commercial aircraft. The main advantage Irkut has over its competitors is that it will be able to produce a 15-percent operating cost advantage over competitors like the Airbus A320. The MC-21’s is listed at $91 million, which is a 15-percent lower acquisition cost than the Boeing A320. The Irkut can also claim the fact that the MC-21-300 features the widest fuselage of any narrowbody in the market.

Budaev finished the unveiling with the following statement

For sure we are looking at Europe as well, because airlines there need to find unusual or ambitious solutions to survive because of the strong presence of low-fare airlines. Last year’s order for Sukhoi Superjets from Ireland’s CityJet is a very good sign for the MC-21 program.

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