SOURCE:Flight International
Aeroflot plans up to 50 MS-21s as part of effort to support Russia’s airliner industry

Aeroflot has pledged to find places for up to 50 examples of Russia's all-new single-aisle twinjet, the Irkut MS-21, in its fleet as part of a drive to include locally produced airliners in its future plans.

In response to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin chastising Aeroflot earlier this year for its apparent reluctance to acquire domestically built aircraft, the Russian flag carrier has submitted a tentative time schedule for acquiring domestically built aircraft to the government.

In a letter to Putin, chief executive Valery Savelyev specifies the airline's acquisition plans up to 2020. Aeroflot says it aims to acquire 40 Sukhoi Superjet 100s, 11 Antonov An-148s and 25 An-140s before 2016. The aircraft will be used to modernise the fleets of Aeroflot and six associate carriers, of which it is taking over management control.

 © Irkut

In addition, Savelyev says Aeroflot is prepared to take up to 50 MS-21s between 2016 and 2020. This all-new airliner is designed to be a viable Russian alternative to the existing single-aisles from Airbus and Boeing in the 130- to 190-seat category, and is due to enter service in around five years.

Savelyev indicates the plan would bring the share of domestically produced airliners in the group's integrated fleet to almost half, up from the current 10%.

Aeroflot has firm orders for 30 Superjet 100s, while Rossiya - one of the carriers being integrated - is to receive two more An-148s.

Savelyev, in his letter to Putin, points out that sticking to "the tight schedule" of aircraft delivery will depend on the domestic manufacturers' ability to fulfil orders in time.

He points out that Aeroflot had originally due to receive its first Superjets in 2008, but deliveries are still yet to start.

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