Russia has surprised the airline industry by announcing the successful test flight of a new
Irkut Corporation, itself owned by
"[The] flight mission is accomplished. The flight went in the normal mode. There are no obstacles revealed preventing the tests continuation," the lead test pilot, Oleg Kononenko, is quoted as saying on the Irkut Corp. website, Sunday.
Irkut said global demand for that area of aviation should translate to about 15,000 new aircraft worldwide across the next 20 years.
The firm claimed the new plane is superior to existing rivals, highlighting its extensive use of polymer composite materials.
The plane maker also lauded the new generation engines which it said reduced fuel consumption, emitted lower noise and pumped out less hazardous emissions.
"[The] calculated reduction of direct operational costs for MC-21 is 12-15% lower than for counterparts," the statement added.
The program cost of the plane was estimated by Russian state media at 164 billion rubles ($4.6 billion) in 2014, but delivery dates have slipped since then.
Irkut said it has an initial portfolio of 175 "firm orders" which will maintain production capacity "in the coming years".