Russian Manufacturer Says American Airlines May Be Customer For New Narrowbody Aircraft

Russia’s Rostec – 92% owned by the government there – owns Irkut and the Yakovlev Design Bureau and they have a new single aisle aircraft that they say American Airlines may be flying in the next 5 to 10 years. They’ve mocked up the aircraft in American Airlines livery to show what it would look like.

The MC-21 (called the MS-21 in Russia) represents the “Main Aircraft Of The 21st Century” and was earlier known as the Yak-242.

  • In two-cabin configuration is has a capacity of 132 – 163 passengers, so smaller than a Boeing 737 MAX 8 and Airbus A321. (It can fit up to 211 passengers in a single-class Torquemada configuration.)

  • Range is 3,200 – 3,500 nautical miles, less than the 737 MAX and A321XLR.

Nonetheless the company expects it to displace Airbus and Boeing single aisle aircraft “in 5-10 years” with both American Airlines and Lufthansa. They hope to begin commercial service with the aircraft in 2024, by which time the A321XLR should be delivering as well.

The MS-21 has a larger window, spacious luggage racks and the widest fuselage in the class of medium-haul aircraft, which is 4.06 m. The spacious cabin allows you to freely move around the aircraft during in-flight maintenance and disperse for two passengers during boarding and disembarking.

Aeroflot passengers will appreciate these advantages very soon – the aircraft will enter the market in 2024, and this airline will become the first operator of this airliner. Lufthansa and American Airlines can queue up.

Credit: Rostec

American Airlines still has Airbus A321neo; Airbus A321XLR; Boeing 737 MAX 8 and Boeing 787-8 and -9 aircraft on order. Their order book is around 190 aircraft, not counting the 20 Supersonic jets they’ve ordered from Boom Aerospace or electric air taxis from Vertical Aerospace.

The carrier also has a mountain of debt, mitigating against the suggestion that they’ll place another large order of aircraft to refresh their fleet. The mockup of the MS-21 in American Airlines livery is best described as trolling.

Rostec claims 175 orders for the MC-21. The only order from a non-Russian airline (excluding letters of intent) is from Azerbaijan Airlines.

  • Aeroflot has an order for 50 of the planes with a letter of intent signed for another 100 of the aircraft.

  • A number of other carriers had placed orders and cancelled them – such as Bek Air from Kazakhstan, Peruvian Airlines, and Merpati Nusantara Airlines from Indonesia.

  • The plane has been in development so long 9 years ago it had an order from Transaero.

There’s no universe in which a U.S. airline will be flying this plane in 5 years. The company producing the aircraft, or its parent, are on sanctions lists in the United States, Canada, European Union, Japan and numerous other countries. The European Safety agency suspended its work certifying the aircraft.

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