Tatyana Fileva, CEO of S7 Group, the parent company of Russian airlines S7 and Globus, has said that while the group is ready to order Russian MC-21 aircraft, it does not expect them to be mass produced in the next few years.
The statement was reported by Interfax in a report published on October 12, 2022.
“They [the manufacturer, ed.-] are only saying that they will produce it in 2025, [but] in 2025 they will actually produce almost nothing, they will only start ramping up production,” Fileva was quoted as saying.
Fileva said the existing foreign fleet in Russia will continue to fly for the next decade or even longer.
“There will be a Russian fleet in the future, but how many airplanes do we have in the country right now? We have about 600 narrow-body planes alone if I’m not mistaken […] In other words, it won’t be replaced by starting to produce a few,” Fileva added.
She continued: “Of course, the foreign fleet should be flying for the next 10-15 years, then there will be time for Russian production to ramp up […] Of course they’ll start producing [Russian aircraft], it’s just going to be slow. And we, of course, will take the MC-21, we’d like to take it.”
Western sanctions and delayed production
The MC-21 was originally designed in the 2000s as the Yakovlev Yak-242. In 2007, the aircraft was renamed the MC-21 and the service entry date was set for 2016.
While the plane made its first flight in 2017 and the first deliveries were scheduled to begin in 2020, the manufacturer failed to certify the jet on time, delaying the certification date until 2021.
In December 2021, it was announced that the first delivery was planned for September 2022. At the same time, Aeroflot subsidiary Rossiya was announced as the launch customer.
But then, in February 2022, after Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the US and Western European countries imposed multiple sanctions on the country, severely impacting the operations of Russian carriers.
Unable to get its hands on Western equipment, particularly aircraft engines, United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), which manufactures the MC-21, announced that the plane would only be delivered with the domestically produced PD-14 engine.
Although the Russian government attempted to speed up its aircraft development program, the first six MC-21s are not expected to take off for commercial operations until 2024.