MOSCOW, June 20 (Reuters) - Russia will begin certification testing for its new MS-21 medium-range passenger plane this autumn, manufacturer Irkut Corporation said on Tuesday.
Irkut and its state-controlled parent company United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) staged the maiden flight of an MS-21-300 model in May and said the jet would be put through more than 1,100 additional test flights when certification testing begins in a few months' time.
"The completion of certification flight tests and obtaining Russian certification for the MS-21-300 jet is planned for 2019, international certification for 2020," Irkut said in written comments to Reuters.
The flight tests will be conducted on four aircraft, the manufacturer said, with two more jets used for ground testing.
Russian officials have heralded the MS-21 as a domestic alternative to those made by America's Boeing and Europe's Airbus, which dominate the medium-range narrow-body market.
But Western analysts have said the twin-engine jet faces a huge challenge to shatter the transatlantic airplane duopoly. (Reporting by Gleb Stolyarov and Jack Stubbs; Editing by Mark Potter)