On February 13, 2019, the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) announced that MC-21 testing is moving forward: for the first time, test flights were attended by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) representatives.
The evaluation flights of the MC-21-300 were carried out for 2.5 to 4 hours at 3 to 10 km altitudes. The airliner was tested in high angles of attack and during stalling.
Currently, two MC-21-300 prototypes are undergoing testing, with a third aircraft expected to begin flight tests in March 2019.
As of January 31, 2019, 122 flights have already been carried out by two prototypes. UAC expects to complete certification in the second half of 2020, with the first delivery to launch customer Aeroflot by the end of that year.
Russian officials view EASA certification as a gateway for the airliner to enter international market. “Obtaining a European certificate will open the MS-21-300 way to the international market,” Denis Manturov, Minister of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation, is quoted as saying in the UAC statement.
At the end of December 2018, the supply of composite materials used for the “black wing” of the MC-21 were halted due to the United States sanctions on Russian company Aerocomposit (which is a part of UAC), as widely reported by local media, which also pointed out that the halt could delay MC-21 entry to the market for up to five years.
At the time, Rostec press-service told AeroTime that the “first aircraft deliveries are planned for 2020 − and this date remains operative”. The company did not specify which exact measures are going to be taken to resume the manufacturing and finish certification on time.