As Irkut rolls out the badly delayed MC-21 – How will it get parts for the rest?

Dino D'Amore
By Dino D'Amore June 9, 2016 20:39

As Irkut rolls out the badly delayed MC-21 – How will it get parts for the rest?

With Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev seated in the audience, Irkut rolled the first structurally-complete MC-21-300 into a flight test hangar in Irkutsk, the capital of East Siberia yesterday.

“The MC-21 technology level exceeds the existing airplanes and aircraft. I’m sure it will be a great aircraft: economical, safe and reliable. Today’s events confirm we are capable of building such aircraft that doesn’t only promote our airplane industry but we also compete with other countries,” Medvedev said.

Aeroflot ordered 50 MC-21s to launch the program six years ago, and at this time most likely does not require the aircraft, but it will have to take them anyway (or else) –  Irkut has collected a total of 175 firm orders from operators in Russia and the Middle East.

In actual fact the MC-21 aircraft family should be one of the best narrowbody aircraft in the market, it has P&W GTF engines, the widest fuselage that is pressurized at the lowest density altitude in the single-aisle class, with an integrated flight deck and full fly-by-wire flight controls.

HOWEVER – It is all a bit of a joke, as when Russia decided that it was a good idea to unofficially declare war on Ukraine and invade the Crimea Irkut had all of its western built systems deliveries cut off under sanctions – This includes avionics, landing gear, hydraulics, power systems and of course many other LLPs, the engines though are built locally by UTC and as such the delivery of powerplants and the LLPs that go with them are secure. Therefore, one assumes that Russia has been busy trying to reverse engineer all of those parts it can no longer receive – something that will be virtually impossible to do in entirety. Of course within Russia the spin on all of this is that since the collapse of the Ruble it is the duty of Russian government to source all technology locally. But in reality Irkut has successfully negotiated its way out of a broad application of the import substitution policy on the MC-21 program, something that US and EU regulators might wish to review more closely at some point. Irkut still hopes that it can achieve certification and deliver the aircraft in late 2018, by which time the C-Series, A320neo and 737Max lines will be running at full tilt with maybe the MRJ lines running at full tilt also and as such airlines outside of Russia will have a myriad of better options to hand, and as they say – Right now do you want to be walking onto an aircraft with a Russian flag on the inside of the door? Cityjet would do well to make sure those are removed from its S100s at speed that is for sure.

Irkut has not yet launched the 240-seat MC-21-400 model.

Over the past week, the average spot price of jet kerosene has shot up to US$58 per barrel, many airlines are currently hedged around the $55 mark for 2016 and thus value on those deals is starting to show – Still 21% lower year-on-year.

Meanwhile AFC continues to impress, last week it delivered its 12th aircraft (an A380) to Emirates and next week number 13 goes in and after that another 777 – Fair play to them. All the while Emirates are finalizing their latest EETC with Amedeo and three ABS deals are rolling through the market.

Dino D'Amore
By Dino D'Amore June 9, 2016 20:39