The Irkut MC-21-300 is a short and medium-haul aircraft that has been billed to be Russia’s answer to the Boeing 737 MAX and Airbus A320neo. During last week’s MAKS-2021 airshow in Moscow, I had a chance to tour the twinjet. Here is a look at what we can expect following its introduction in 2022.
I had reported on the MC-21 several times before I was invited to have a look inside the aircraft. Therefore, I was already familiar with the specifications. For instance, Rostec, the powerhouse behind the designers of the build, has been keen to highlight the jet’s high bypass ratio and improved aerodynamics due to its high aspect ratio wings that are made of composite materials for the first time on a plane of this class.
Nonetheless, actually seeing the aircraft in the flesh during this sunny summer’s day in Moscow helped me understand more about the passenger experience that can be expected when the aircraft enters service.
The business end
This unit has 163 seats across the interior. 16 of them can be seen straight after entering the plane, spanning across the business cabin.
French aerospace outfit Safran proposed up to 70 different parts for the cabin of the plane. The company’s touches can be seen in business class with its Z600 model seats.
With the widest fuselage in its class of 4.06 m, flight attendants and passengers alike would appreciate the benefits. Victor Kladov, Director for International Cooperation and Regional Policy Department of Rostec, told Simple Flying that the aircraft provides some of the benefits of a widebody despite being a single-aisle build.
There are 147 economy seats in the cabin. Each of these has a pitch of 32 inches.
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Getting ready for service
There is a lot to expect with the technical aspects of the plane. For instance, the high-by-pass ratio engines are set to help with fuel-burn challenges while reducing noise and emissions.
Leaving the aircraft, I was excited when thinking about seeing the plane actually in service. Aeroflot, which was initially announced as the launch customer, will be deploying these aircraft. Being the airline that I flew into Moscow with, I am keen to see about the opportunities of me flying on the type in the years to come.
Altogether, it was compelling to see the MC-21-300 from the inside. Of course, airlines will be fitting the cabins with their own themes before deploying the twinjet in the air. Nonetheless, it was easy to envision what to expect when there are passengers flying high while eating their snacks as flight attendants pass by to offer their assistance.
A key factor that stood out was the amount of space on board throughout both cabins. I’ve reviewed empty planes before, including the A350 XWB, and I can tell that passengers and staff will have an abundance of room for movement when on their travels this decade with this Russian production.
Altogether, there are high hopes for the MC-21. Those behind it expect the aircraft to replace Russian domestic fleets by 2030.
What are your thoughts about the Irkurt MC-21 and its interior? Are you excited about the introduction of the plane? Let us know what you think of the aircraft and its overall prospects in the comment section.