Irkut president Alexey Fedorov is confident the MS-21 narrowbody jet will gain 10% of the lucrative market for 150- to 200-seat aircraft, despite fierce competition from Boeing and Airbus in the sector.

The MS-21, which is in its final design stage, will offer a 5-7% operating cost advantage over the Airbus A320NEO and the Boeing 737 MAX, says Fedorov. This airframe’s aerodynamics and weight will provide fuel burn advantages that can’t be matched by competitors, he adds.

AT Farnborough, Irkut signed a deal with Zodiac for the interiors of 150- and 180-seat variants, Fedorov says. Two engines, the Pratt & Whitney PW1400G and Russia’s United Engine Corp. PD-14, have been selected. No engine has yet been selected for the final variant of the `ms-21, the 212-seat aircraft. “The design of the 212-seat aircraft has not been finalized,” says Fedorov.

Irkut has 185 firm orders for the aircraft and, including options, memoranda of understanding and conditional orders, brings the order tally to 250. These are mainly from Russian airlines, but “about 50” orders have come from outside Russia, says Fedorov.

Reaching a wider audience will have its challenges, Fedorov admits, “but we are learning by watching how Boeing and Airbus market their aircraft.” Irkut is in talks with a company that Fedorov declined to identify for aftermarket customer support so a network is in place by the aircraft’s 2015 first flight.

“This is a global project, not just Russian,” says Fedorov, noting that the avionics, engines and cabin interiors, among other systems, are being provided by non-Russian companies.

 “The market for this size aircraft is huge,” says Fedorov. The Russian airframer forecasts sales of up to 1,200 MS-21s over 20 years, with a maximum production rate of 84 aircraft per year. Irkut needs to sell between 200-250 aircraft to break even, he says.

 “This is a new era for Russian civil aerospace,” says Fedorov. “We are in a good place with the MS-21.”