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Russia Unveiled The First MC-21 Medium-Haul Passenger Plane

Moscow – Russia unveiled Wednesday the first MC-21 medium-haul passenger plane as Moscow aims to revive its beleaguered civil aviation industry and challenge giants Airbus and Boeing.[9]

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The prototype of the MC-21 plane that can carry up to 211 passengers was presented in the hangar of the Irkut aircraft manufacturer in the Siberian city of Irkutsk in a glitzy ceremony broadcast on Russian state television.[4]

The unveiling of the aircraft was a “long-awaited event for our civil aviation, [1]for aeronautic construction and for our whole country,” said Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

Russia plane

“This confirms that we are able to create such aircraft that not only make our civil aviation progress but that will compete with other countries,” he said.[7]

Medvedev also pledged that Russia would keep updating its domestically-produced civil aircraft.

The MC-21 passenger jets which can be up to 42.3 metres long and have a wingspan of 35.9 metres are expected to replace the ageing, [1]Soviet-era Tupolev Tu-204 and make their first test flights by the end of the year or in early 2017.[10]

Russia airbus

The aircraft,[5] 30 percent of which is made up of foreign parts, is scheduled to come into service in late 2018.

Irkut said that it has signed contracts with a number of airlines, including Russian flagship carrier Aeroflot,[2] UTair and the Kyrgyzstan Air Company, for the delivery of 175 planes and that it had preliminary agreement to sell another 100 planes.

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A number of the planes will be purchased by state-owned Russian companies for leasing. [11] Medvedev said that the demand for Russia’s MC-21 would grow once it makes its first flight.[12]

Russia has its hopes set on competing with the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737, [4]which dominate the international civil aviation market. [2] The unveiling of the MC-21 comes five years after Russia’s short-haul Sukhoi Superjet aircraft came into service and has since had serious technical issues.

Russia’s aviation agency in 2013 grounded the Superjets which have had technical issues with landing gear and leak detection systems since they came into service in 2011 over a series of technical issues before being allowed to resume flights.[5]

A Superjet performing at an Indonesian air show in 2012 slammed into a volcano,[1] killing all 45 on board, in a crash Indonesia blamed on pilot error.[3]

Source: AFP

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