Volga-Dnepr weighs up MC-21 freighter project

By Damian Brett

Alexey Isaykin, Volga-Dnepr Group views an MC-21-300. Source: Volga-Dnepr Group

The Volga-Dnepr Group is considering whether to partner with aircraft manufacturer Ikurt on the development of a freighter version of the MC-21-300 in response to increasing cargo demand.

Last week at the MAKS airshow, a Volga-Dnepr Group delegation headed by chairman of the board, Alexey Isaykin, viewed an MC-21-300 test aircraft.

The airline said that during the visit, the companies discussed the possibility of the production of a freighter version of the aircraft.

In a statement, the airline said: “Amid the capacity constraints, emerging demand for freighters and increase of cargo volumes worldwide, Irkut Corporation is in favourable position to commence the freighter programme. Volga-Dnepr Group might become the possible launch customer of the MC-21-200 freighter version.”

Volga-Dnepr said that its representatives noted the aircraft’s extended fuselage, advanced airframe systems, which are developed by the both Russian and foreign manufacturers, and “up-to-date technologies enabling reduction of operational costs”.

Several different versions of the passenger aircraft are planned, ranging in size from 150 to 211 seats.

The four MC-21-300s in the test fleet are powered by Pratt & Whitney PW1400G engines and offer a range of around 6,000–6,500 km.

First deliveries are expected next year. The aircraft is expected to compete with the B737 and A320.

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