The United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) announced at MAKS 2019, Russia’s premier trade airshow, that Yakutia and BKR of Kazakhstan are the latest customers for the MC-21 narrowbody airliner, which made its debut at the show. UAC has listed three customers so far for the new aircraft, with the launch client being Aeroflot, which placed an order for 50 earlier in the year. This latest announcement means Yakutia take five examples and BKR ten.

A press conference held on Wednesday at the show, allowed Irkut executives to clarify the engine issue given the threat of further US-sanctions and to discuss their impact which has meant that Irkut, builder of the MC-21 was forced to source composite material for the aircraft’s wings from local suppliers.

The threat of further sanctions could block the sale of the MC-21’s Pratt & Whitney PW1400G engines and has seen Irkut accelerating the development of a version powered with Russian-made Aviadvigatel PD-14s.

Irkut general manager director Ravil Hakimov revealed that the sanctions have affected the programme, but the company’s “technical solutions” have settled the issue. “I don’t see any need to comment further”, he concluded.

The MC-21’s designers were keen to promote the MC-21 during the event and stated that the airliner is  technically more advanced than anything available on the market and will sell for 20% less than its direct competitors. Hakimov added: “The airlines are all saying that if the MC-21 performs as you say, there will be a third player within the commercial airline market to compete with Boeing and Airbus.”

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