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Russia to debut MC-21 narrow-body passenger aircraft at MAKS 2019 Air Show


New Russian-made narrow-body jet, Irkut MC-21-300, with a passenger interior will make its public debut at this year’s Moscow International Aviation and Space Salon (MAKS 2019), which runs from August 27 to September 1.

The presentation will “visually demonstrate to potential customers and future passengers one of the most important competitive advantages of the Russian airliner – an increased level of comfort,” Russian Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov said as cited by the plane’s producer, the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC).

On Saturday, the third MC-21-300 test aircraft made a successful maiden flight at the airfield of Irkutsk Aviation Plant, a branch of the UAC, the company announced. No incidents were reported during the 90-minute flight, with speeds of up to 500kph at an altitude of 3,500 meters. The fourth jet of the same model will start test flights later this year.

The Russian-made narrow-body airliner, which is set to complete certification tests by 2020, is a potential competitor to medium-haul jets such as the ill-fated Boeing 737 Max.

Boeing 737 Max planes have been involved in two catastrophes in less than five months. Last Sunday, a crash in Ethiopia resulted in the deaths of all 157 people on board.

The US-based aviation corporation has faced mounting problems following the fatal incident, as planes of that type have been grounded and banned from the airspace of the majority nations around the world. The company had to halt deliveries of the controversial plane, but said that production of the jets will continue.

However, potential customers are already considering canceling their orders. On Friday, Russian airline Aeroflot said it is not going to purchase the previously agreed 20 jets for its low-cost subsidiary, Pobeda, unless it has “a 100 percent guarantee that the machine is safe.”

Aeroflot was also considering ordering 30 more of the Boeing 737 Max in 2022, according to Vedomosti, citing sources close to the airline and the UAC. However, in a meeting with the government, Russian government officials demanded that the airline “considers” buying domestically-produced MC-21 jets instead of the US-made aircraft.