Siberian-built plane is cool, says prime minister Dmitry Medvedev, as Kremlin targets foreign sales amid push to revitalise industries hit by sanctions

Russia has unveiled a medium-range passenger plane that state media hailed as superior in many ways to western-made counterparts.

In a glitzy Siberian ceremony attended by the prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev, the Irkut Corporation rolled out its new MC-21 airliner, which is still undergoing testing but is due to enter serial production in 2017. The plane is sometimes also known as MS-21.

Medvedev hailed the new twin-engine short and medium-range aircraft as cool, saying it was important that Russia remained in what he called the top league of aircraft makers despite the high costs involved.

Squeezed by western sanctions over its role in the Ukraine crisis, the Russian government is trying to rejuvenate domestic industrial production to make the country less dependent on foreign firms.

I only want to say that I am absolutely certain that the airliner will be the pride of Russian civil aviation, and that our citizens and foreign people will take pleasure in flights on MC-21, said Medvedev.

Dmitry
Dmitry Medvedev tries out the cockpit of the MC-21. Photograph: Alexander Astafyev/Sputnik/EPA

The plane will be built in two variants: the MC-21-300 which will have 160-211 seats, and the MC-21-200 with 130-165 seats. Deliveries are expected to start in 2018 and state media said numerous contracts with domestic and foreign carriers had already been agreed.

The state-controlled United Aircraft Corporation, of which Irkut is a subsidiary, said the new plane would be able to service routes of up to 6,400km (3,976 miles) and its operational costs would be up to 15% cheaper than current generation aircraft.

Vladimir Volkov, vice-president of Irkut Corporation, said: It is not made of metal, it is made of composite materials. That allows us to give it a special shape. It is much lighter and stronger so it is a great step in the development of our aviation industry.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/jun/09/mc-21-russians-hail-new-airliner-as-better-than-boeing-or-airbus

MC-21: Russians hail new airliner as better than Boeing or Airbus
Tagged on: