The development of Russia’s new regional turboprop airliner, the Il-114-300, is going to take longer than expected.
According to Russian financial newspaper Kommersant, which quoted unnamed industry sources, the Il-114-300 will not be ready to enter service until at least 2025.
The Il-114-300, which had been previously expected to enter service in 2023, is a modernized version of the Soviet-designed Il-114 aircraft, which first flew in 1990.
The original Il-114 was manufactured in Tashkent, Uzbekistan (which was at the time one of the Soviet republics) and had Uzbekistan Airways as its primary commercial operator until 2016.
The Il-114 program was later reactivated by Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), which is part of government-owned industrial conglomerate Rostec, with the aim of developing a domestically produced regional aircraft able to fulfill missions similar to those of the ATR-72 aircraft.
Designed to carry 68 passengers on regional routes over distances of up to 2,000 km, the Il-114-300 is expected to replace the aging Antonov An-24 fleets, which are still in service with several Russian regional carriers.
The production line for the modernized Il-114-300 version of the aircraft was transferred to Russia from Uzbekistan, with the first test flight taking place in December 2020.
According to reports that appeared in Kommersant, the postponed entry into service is due to issues with the Klimov TV7-117 engines.
In August 2021, an Il-112 test aircraft powered by the engine type crashed on the outskirts of Moscow, leading to a reevaluation and further work on the TV7-117. The delay has reportedly not only impacted the Il-114-300 program, but other projects that rely on this engine model and its derivatives, such as the Mi-38 helicopter.