Rossiya, a subsidiary of Aeroflot, will take delivery of the first Irkut MC-21 airliner in September 2022, making it the launch customer for the new aircraft.
According to Russian news agency Interfax, which quoted an unnamed source within the airline, the first aircraft is set to be delivered in September, with a second arriving in November, and two further aircraft due in December 2022.
The news was confirmed by Aeroflot’s CEO, Mikhail Poluboyarinov in an interview to the state news agency TASS.
In contrast with some prototypes, the latest MC-21s will be fitted with Russian-made composite wings and Aviadvigatel PD-14 turbofan engines, made to replace the foreign-made parts that were initially planned for the type.
The first MC-21 prototype took off on its maiden flight in 2017, and the aircraft has been performing tests ever since.
The United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) initially planned to start delivering the aircraft in 2019. However, this was delayed numerous times. The aircraft is also yet to be certified by the Russian aviation authority Rosaviatsiya, but current plans suggest that certification will be completed by the end of December 2021.
According to Aviation21.ru, the aircraft is ready to be delivered to Rossiya, having exited the assembly line on November 30, 2021. The aircraft was then transferred to the flight-testing division of the Irkutsk aviation plant.
Irkut MC-21 is a narrow-body airliner under development at UAC, intended to rival the Boeing 737 MAX and the Airbus A320neo. However, the aircraft appears to have been built for the Russian market, with almost all orders signed by Aeroflot or other Russian airlines.
The aircraft will be available in two variants: the MC-21-200 and the MC-21-300, and boasts a passenger capacity of 132 and 163 two-class seats and a range of 6,400 kilometers (3,500 nautical miles) and 6,000 kilometers (3,200 nautical miles) respectively.