50 Irkut MC-21s for Aeroflot


Aeroflot will become the largest customer for the latest Russian-built medium-range aircraft, the MC-21. The landmark contract for 50 of the state-of-the-art passenger aircraft was signed between Aeroflot and Rostec. Rostec leasing subsidiary Aviacapital-Service will supply Aeroflot with 50 MC-21-300 aircraft on operating leases. The leasing payments and reserves for maintenance will total more than USD 5 billion.

The aircraft will be configured for Aeroflot to carry 169 passengers, with 16 business-class and 153 economy-class seats. In the first phase of the contract, the aircraft will be delivered with engines produced outside Russia. From the 26th aircraft, Aeroflot has the option to receive aircraft with new Russian-built PD-14 engines, which are currently undergoing certification testing.

The first aircraft is scheduled for delivery to Aeroflot in the first quarter of 2020, with the order planned to be completely fulfilled by 2026. Each aircraft will be leased for a term of 12 years, with the option of two-year extensions on the lease no more than three times. Aeroflot plans to operate the aircraft on both domestic and international routes.

Sergey Chemezov, CEO of Rostec said, “This agreement underscores that Russia’s civil aviation industry is making a comeback and taking its place among leading global manufacturers. The MC-21 represents a genuine breakthrough achievement for the aviation industry. The aircraft uses cutting-edge materials and the latest generation of systems, created by leading Russian companies. Elements of the MC-21 that Rostec produces include titanium and composite parts, on-board electronics, chassis components, other systems, and the ‘heart’ of the aircraft – the PD-14 engine. We believe that this engine will be selected by Aeroflot as the primary power plant for the MC-21.”

Vitaly Saveliev, CEO of Aeroflot stated,“The signing of a firm order for 50 MC-21 aircraft is a landmark event not just for our two companies, but for our country. Russian manufacturers have created the first next-generation passenger aircraft, marking Russia’s return as a global leader in the aviation industry. It is noteworthy that the signing of a firm order between Aeroflot and Rostec coincides with a no less significant achievement, namely Aeroflot’s return to the global aviation elite, as one of the top 20 largest airlines in the world. In today’s geopolitical context, we believe it is essential that there is competitive Russian-made technology, and that it is of the highest quality and competitively priced. For this reason our partnership with Rostec, our largest partner and a shareholder of Aeroflot, is of critical importance.”

The MC-21 simulator at the recently concluded Singapore Airshow 2018

The MC-21 is a medium-haul, narrow-body aircraft produced by Irkut Corporation (part of United Aircraft Corp., UAC) in cooperation with leading Russian manufacturers. Rostec subsidiaries involved in the production of the aircraft were VSMPO-AVISMA, United Engine Corporation, Technodinamika, Concern Radio-Electronic Technologies, and RTChemcomposite. The MC-21 boasts an innovative ergonomic cabin for pilots and improved capabilities owing to the unique engineering solutions deployed. It is the first aircraft of its type in the world to make use of polymer composites in the construction of the wings. Composites account for more than 30% of the MC-21, which significantly increases the useful load.

Airbus’ Commercial Aircraft deliveries in 2017 reached a new company record of 718 aircraft delivered to 85 customers for the 15th year in a row. Deliveries were more than four percent higher than the previous record of 688 set in 2016. The 2017 total comprises: 558 single aisle A320 Family (of which 181 were A320neo – an increase of 166 percent over 2016); 67 A330s; 78 A350 XWBs (up by nearly 60 percent from 2016) and 15 A380s. Furthermore, to cap this resounding annual production achievement, Airbus achieved 1,109 net orders from 44 customers. At the end of 2017, Airbus’ overall backlog stood at 7,265 aircraft valued at US$1.059 trillion at list prices.

As exemplified by its 2017’s performance, Airbus has steadily built on deliveries year on year, with 15 consecutive years of production increase. From its four A320 Family plants in Hamburg, Tianjin, Mobile, and Toulouse, Airbus is on track to achieve rate 60 per month on single-aisle by mid-2019. Meanwhile, the A350 XWB is equally on track by the end 2018. Airbus’ healthy order intake in 2017 resulted in a ‘book-to-bill’ ratio of 1.5.

There were many industrial milestones achieved by Airbus Commercial Aircraft in 2017, which included delivery of the 100th A350 XWB; the delivery of the 50th A320 Family aircraft from its FAL in Mobile; delivery of Emirates’ 100th A380; first flight of the A330neo; certification of the A350-1000; first A321neos delivered with CFM and P&W engines; inauguration of the new A330 Completion and Delivery Centre in Tianjin, China, with two first deliveries; and structural completion of the first Beluga XL. On internationalisation, the partnership with China is expanding while the Americas footprint is equally extended. Moreover, in the provision of services worldwide Airbus is significantly enhancing its local presence to be closer to its customers.

Emirates contracts for up to 36 additional A380s

Dubai-based Emirates Airline has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to acquire up to 36 additional A380 aircraft. The agreement was signed at the airline’s headquarters in Dubai by HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline and Group, and John Leahy, Chief Operating Officer - Customers, Airbus Commercial Aircraft. The commitment is for 20 A380s plus an option for 16 more with deliveries to start in 2020, valued at US$16 billion at latest list prices.

Following delivery of its first A380 in July 2008, Emirates took its 100th A380 on 3 November 2017 in Hamburg, Germany. The A380 is an ‘essential part of the solution to sustainable growth’, alleviating traffic congestion at busy airports by transporting more passengers with fewer flights. “The A380 is the ‘best way’ to capture growing world air traffic, which doubles every 15 years.” The A380 flies 8,200 nautical miles (15,200 kilometres) non-stop and can accommodate 575 passengers in four classes.

A330neo programme development on track

Following the first flights of the first A330neo test aircraft (MSN1795) on 19 October 2017 and the second (MSN1813) on 4 December 2017, both are fully operational and now flying on a daily basis, having already accumulated more than 290 flight hours and over 80 flights (as of 24 January 2018). This represents a very strong start to the campaign and confirms that the aircraft perform in line with predictions. Much has been achieved: the aircraft flight envelope has been fully opened (normal and direct laws); anemometry has been calibrated; engine calibration points have been completed in high and low speed; flutter tests and loads calibration have been performed; stall tests have been performed and strake configuration has been frozen; autopilot tests have started (including automatic landing) and climb and high speed performance tests are fully underway.

In the meantime, Airbus is progressing rapidly on readying the next A330neo aircraft to fly which is the third flight test-aircraft and the first A330-800. This aircraft has now completed its structural assembly and flight-test instrumentation installation is on-going. Shortly, the aircraft will enter the painting hangar to receive its external livery. Moreover, production aircraft are progressing according to plan in the Final Assembly Line and Airbus has completed the installation of the first brand new airspace cabin.

New A330-800 rolls-out


The newest member from the A330neo Family, the A330-800, has rolled out from the paint shop, on track for its first flight in mid-2018. The A330-800 is the new generation 250-seater from Airbus’ twinaisle family. With its 242-tonne Maximum Take-Off Weight as the base variant, the A330-800 can operate routes of up to 7,500nm and with the recently launched 251-tonne MTOW variant, the aircraft can operate ultra-long-range routes of up to 8,150nm. The A330-800 will leverage the A330-200’s ‘proven versatility, popularity and reasons for success, offering new-generation economics’. Building on success of the A330-200 with over 600 aircraft in operation, the A330-800 brings new-generation economics and comfort in addition to ‘unprecedented’ range to the 250-seat aircraft market. Together with the larger 300-seat A330-900, they share 99 percent commonality, having the same airframe, engines and cross-crew training. This gives operators great flexibility to use either aircraft in their fleet according to network needs in size and range. Both of these widebody aircraft incorporate new Rolls- Royce Trent 7000 engines, zero-splice nacelles, titanium pylons, new wings and new Airspace by Airbus cabins. The most visible new features of the A330neo wings are the specially developed curved wingtip Sharklets, which draw on A350 XWB technology, extending the wingspan to 64 metres, providing state-of-the art aerodynamic characteristics.

First A350-1000 for Qatar Airways

Airbus has delivered the world’s first A350-1000 widebody airliner to Qatar Airways at a delivery event in Toulouse, France. The aircraft is the first of 37 A350-1000s ordered by the carrier and is the first ever Airbus aircraft fitted with the ‘revolutionary’ new Qsuite seats, offering the first ever double bed in Business class. Qatar Airways is the world’s largest A350 XWB family customer with 76 aircraft on order and the largest A350-1000 customer. “The A350-1000 fits seamlessly alongside Qatar Airways’ growing fleet, including 20 A350-900s today. Both aircraft are complementary and provide for maximum commonality with unmatched operating efficiencies and the same unique passenger experience in their Airspace cabin. Flyers will benefit from absolute well-being in the cabin, with more personal space, optimised cabin altitude, more fresh air, controlled temperature and humidity, integrated connectivity and the latest generation of in-flight entertainment system”, says the company.


The A350-1000 is Airbus’ latest and largest widebody in the twin-aisle category. With a 7-metre longer fuselage, the A350-1000space for premium cabin products is 40% larger than its smallersibling the A350-900. In Qatar Airways configuration, the A350-1000 offers 44 additional seats. The A350-1000 features a modified wing trailing-edge, new six-wheel main landing gears and more powerful Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-97 engines.

Airbus Helicopters in 2017: 409 helicopters delivered

Airbus Helicopters delivered 409 rotorcraft and logged gross orders for 350 helicopters (net: 335) in 2017, with a strong commercial performance on the heavy and super-medium segments. The company booked 54 orders for helicopters of the Super Puma family and 19 orders for the super-medium H175, confirming those types as best-sellers on their respective market segments. Bookings also included 168 orders for light-single engine helicopters and 105 orders for the H135/H145 light-twins. At the end of 2017, the overall backlog stood at 692 helicopters.

2017 saw major progress being made on new products, including the H160 – first of the ‘H Generation’ – with three prototypes now in flight-testing ahead of certification in 2019. A full-scale firing campaign of the HForce weapon system was also carried out successfully on the H145M, which will benefit from improved and modular military capabilities by the end of 2018. The year was also marked by the launch of ACH (Airbus Corporate Helicopters) through which the company is able to offer high quality design and specifications across its range of helicopters to private and business customers.

Airbus Helicopters’ 1300th helicopter from the H135 family

Airbus Helicopters delivered the 1300th helicopter from the H135-family, a number underlining the multipurpose lightweight twin engine helicopter’s worldwide success. The global fleet of this type has accumulated a total of more than 4.5 million flight hours since the entry into service of the first helicopter in 1996. More than 300 customers in 60 countries use helicopters from the H135 family for a wide range of missions including Emergency Medical Services (EMS), law enforcement, corporate transport, offshore wind and military flight training. The majority of the lightweight twin-engine helicopters of this type are operated in Europe (641), followed by North America (316) and Asia (195).


H145M launches 70mm LGRs

The capability enhancement for the H145M continues. In December 2017, Airbus Helicopters demonstrated the ability to fire laser guided rockets (FZ275 LGR from Thales) with its new H145M platform at the Älvdalen test range of the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration Flight test Centre. In a rough and challenging environment, the system performed flawlessly. The electro-optical system (MX-15D) from L3 WESCAM with embedded laser designation enabled a deviation of less than a metre for all rockets fired at a distance of up to 4.5 km. This 70mm laser guided air-ground rocket enhances the H145M’s engagement capabilities. It fulfils the precision strike needs of the armed forces worldwide by reducing the risk of collateral damage, particularly during asymmetric combat operations.

First A321LR in flight

The first A321LR (Long Range) airliner took off for its maiden flight from Hamburg Germany; the aircraft was powered by CFM LEAP-1A engines and entry into service is targeted for Q4 2018. The A321LR features a new door configuration, enabling its operators to accommodate up to 240 passengers in Airbus’ widest single aisle fuselage in the sky. The new Airspace by Airbus cabin available on the A320 Family additionally enhances the passengers’ ‘unrivalled travel experience’. With further options, combining an increased Maximum Take Off Weight (MTOW) of 97 tonnes and a third Additional Centre Fuel Tank (ACT), the aircraft’s range extends to 4,000nm (7,400 km), allowing airlines to tap into new long range market opportunities.

Brazil orders additional Airbus C295 for SAR

Brazil has ordered an additional Airbus C295 search and rescue (SAR) aircraft that will eventually take to 15 the number of C295s in service with the Brazilian Air Force (FAB). This latest order constitutes the firming of an option included in an earlier contract in 2014. The three SAR aircraft will serve alongside 12 transport-configured C295s already delivered. The first of the three SAR aircraft was delivered last year and performed a successful five week tour through four continents before arriving in Brazil. The aircraft demonstrated its maritime patrol and search and rescue capabilities in a wide range of environments and recorded 100% availability during the tour. The second FAB C295 SAR will be delivered in 2019 and the third in 2020. More than 200 C295s have now been ordered by 26 countries.

Enhanced Eurofighters for Spanish Air Force

Airbus Defence and Space has delivered to the Spanish Air Force the first two Eurofighter Typhoons to be produced in the latest configuration with enhanced air-to-surface capabilities. The aircraft were manufactured at the Getafe Final Assembly Line in the P1Eb FW (Phase 1 Enhanced Further Work) configuration which marks a key step in the overall Eurofighter evolution plan. This same configuration is being retrofitted to in-service aircraft by other Eurofighter nations. It provides increased integration of a variety of airto-surface weapons and enhanced targeting among other improvements. Spanish procurement agency DGAM took delivery of the aircraft on 22 December 2017 and they were subsequently ferried to Albacete air force base to enter service. The remaining six of the 73 aircraft currently contracted by Spain will be delivered to the same P1Eb FW standard during 2018 and 2019.


Flight demonstration of ‘Skyways’

Airbus Helicopters’ Skyways unmanned air vehicle has completed its first flight demonstration at the National University of Singapore (NUS). The drone took off from its dedicated maintenance centre and landed on the roof of a specially designed parcel station where a parcel was automatically loaded via a robotic arm. Once loaded with the parcel, the Skyways drone took off again and returned to land, demonstrating its automatic unloading capability. This inaugural flight demonstration follows the launch of the experimental project with the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) in February 2016 to develop an urban unmanned air system to address the safety, efficiency, and sustainability of the air delivery business in cities such as Singapore. The collaboration was subsequently extended in April 2017 with Singapore Post (SingPost) becoming the local logistics partner to the project.

An experimental project aimed at developing a safe and economically viable aerial unmanned parcel delivery system for use in dense urban environments, Skyways is one of a number of innovative Urban Air Mobility projects currently being researched at Airbus. These also include the Racer high-speed helicopter demonstrator, as well as the Vahana and CityAirbus autonomous flying vehicle concepts.




Tag:- Irkut MC-21, Aeroflot, Russia, Simulator, UAC, United Engine Corporation