The Russian answer to the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 narrow-bodies, the MC-21-300, completed a test flight with a high-density one-class seat layout on board, taking off from Irkutsk to Moscow-Zhukovsky Airport, Russia (ZIA), United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) announced on March 17, 2020.

The fourth test frame of the MC-21-300 joined the test program in December 2019, when the aircraft took off for its maiden voyage the same month.

The aircraft, which carried out the flight on March 17, 2020, was configured in a 172 seat layout. For certification flights, the manufacturer would add 39 more seats, replacing the test equipment currently on board the aircraft in order to certify an interior configuration that is specifically designed for low-cost carriers, noted UAC in a press release. A more usual, two-class layout would seat 163 passengers.

 

Irkut MC-21-300 is planned to enter service  with Aeroflot, the national flag carrier of the country, in 2022. The aircraft will have a range of 5,900 kilometers, just shy of the maximum range of the Airbus A320neo (6,300 kilometers) and the Boeing 737 MAX-8 (6,570 kilometers). It will have two engine options,  either the Russian Aviadvigatel PD-14 or the American-built Pratt & Whitney PW1400G-JM engines.

UAC plans to test the Aviadvigatel PD-14 engine with the fifth aircraft test frame that was completed in December 2019. The frame is yet to join the test campaign.

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The Irkutsk Aviation Plant has completed assembly of a new MC-21-300 aircraft fuselage. While the fuselage is the fifth already and three prototypes are already in flight testing, what is special about this particular prototype is the fact that it would be the first one equipped with a new type of engines. This time, the engine would be made in Russia.