Russian Manufacturer Says American Airlines May Be Customer For New Narrowbody Aircraft

Russia’s Rostec – 92% owned by the government there – owns Irkut and the Yakovlev Design Bureau and they have a new single aisle aircraft that they say American Airlines may be flying in the next 5 to 10 years. They’ve mocked up the aircraft in American Airlines livery to show what it would look like.

The MC-21 (called the MS-21 in Russia) represents the “Main Aircraft Of The 21st Century” and was earlier known as the Yak-242.

  • In two-cabin configuration is has a capacity of 132 – 163 passengers, so smaller than a Boeing 737 MAX 8 and Airbus A321. (It can fit up to 211 passengers in a single-class Torquemada configuration.)

  • Range is 3,200 – 3,500 nautical miles, less than the 737 MAX and A321XLR.

Nonetheless the company expects it to displace Airbus and Boeing single aisle aircraft “in 5-10 years” with both American Airlines and Lufthansa. They hope to begin commercial service with the aircraft in 2024, by which time the A321XLR should be delivering as well.

The MS-21 has a larger window, spacious luggage racks and the widest fuselage in the class of medium-haul aircraft, which is 4.06 m. The spacious cabin allows you to freely move around the aircraft during in-flight maintenance and disperse for two passengers during boarding and disembarking.

Aeroflot passengers will appreciate these advantages very soon – the aircraft will enter the market in 2024, and this airline will become the first operator of this airliner. Lufthansa and American Airlines can queue up.

Credit: Rostec

American Airlines still has Airbus A321neo; Airbus A321XLR; Boeing 737 MAX 8 and Boeing 787-8 and -9 aircraft on order. Their order book is around 190 aircraft, not counting the 20 Supersonic jets they’ve ordered from Boom Aerospace or electric air taxis from Vertical Aerospace.

The carrier also has a mountain of debt, mitigating against the suggestion that they’ll place another large order of aircraft to refresh their fleet. The mockup of the MS-21 in American Airlines livery is best described as trolling.

Rostec claims 175 orders for the MC-21. The only order from a non-Russian airline (excluding letters of intent) is from Azerbaijan Airlines.

  • Aeroflot has an order for 50 of the planes with a letter of intent signed for another 100 of the aircraft.

  • A number of other carriers had placed orders and cancelled them – such as Bek Air from Kazakhstan, Peruvian Airlines, and Merpati Nusantara Airlines from Indonesia.

  • The plane has been in development so long 9 years ago it had an order from Transaero.

There’s no universe in which a U.S. airline will be flying this plane in 5 years. The company producing the aircraft, or its parent, are on sanctions lists in the United States, Canada, European Union, Japan and numerous other countries. The European Safety agency suspended its work certifying the aircraft.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Nice rendering. Caught the engine in the first milliseconds of a compressor stall. American and Lufthansa can queue up, but the wait will be very long indeed.

  2. This is all semantics, as I agree with Gary that there’s no universe in which this is flown by an American carrier in the next five years. However, never underestimate the former America West executives’ ability to make poor decisions and tried to make this happen. Good luck getting the pilots of American Airlines to fly this POS.

  3. That is right up there with Khrushchev’s 1961 prediction that by 1970 the economy of the USSR would surpass that of the U.S. So it seems like the same kinds of ridiculous statements that the Soviets (and Chinese) made and which then quietly went down the memory hole. Sure governments like to put the most positive spin on things, and Putin’s no Communist, but it’s hard to believe anybody taking this one seriously.

  4. If American Airlines thinks they are flying this plane they had better send everyone dollar back to the US govt for bailing them out. I already avoid American and this helps cement the view.

  5. I disagree. AA will likely fly the MC-21. AA will also fly the Boom supersonic jet. And expect free meals and MRTC More Room Throughout Coach.

  6. @RD – I never said AMERICAN thinks they are flying this plane, the delusional Russian government manufacturing firm says it could happen and I dispute that notion

  7. Thanks for the laughs. Gary should really look into “Babylon Bee of miles and points” blog market, apparently there is a lot of untapped potential. I, for once, would enjoy this as a turn for the better after recent politicization of this place

  8. Maybe they meant to say “A South American airlines” in Venezuela. How dumb does this puppet government think their people and the world is. . .This was hysterical!

    Thanks for sharing Gary.

  9. @ Gary — Thai Airways buys a little of everything, so I predict they will be the launch customer.

  10. Don’t dump on Gary for reporting this — he explicitly notes that the idea is bunk. But the fact that the Russian’s would say it is in fact entertaining and related to travel/airlines.

    Similarly, for all their faults, this has nothing to do with AA — unless of course they issue a press release along the lines of “Hey, here’s an interesting idea….”

  11. I would never fly a Russian aircraft. There is no way a US carrier will fly one either.

  12. @drrichard
    Putin is no communist? Hum…he used to be a member of the KGB. He acts like a commie, wanting to get the former communist countries back in order. Is corrupt like the former communist leaders.
    Bombs Ukrainian schools, hospitals and other public places to scare the citizenry to march his way which is part of the Communist Manifesto. Yeah, I guess he’s not a communist.

  13. I will no longer fly any US carrier that order jets from Russia. There is no reason that this is even a conversation, when we have two large manufactures in both the US and Europe.

  14. @Rog — Putin is a crony capitalist. Same as Biden. Except Biden is retarded and Putin has fascists idea about reviving Russian Empire. But wait… What about war criminals like Obama and Bush that invaded foreign countries? Fuhrer Putin learned a lot from them. Use power to kill and destroy.

  15. After 9 years od development there is only 2 of mc-21 being tested. So by 2024 they might have even less with all the sanctions. Russia might not be able to produce any airplains that even close compete with boing or airbus for several sentries.

  16. You all have to remember, all news comming from Russia are design to be consumed by russians and pure propaganda.

  17. Tim Dunn – “Well, Delta already has a better deal than American or United on these planes due to the MRO at LFT airport. It’s a real game changer, so DOT data already says they’ll be more profitable.”

  18. This Gary Leff character is such a moron. Why waste any time “reporting” on this drivel.

  19. FAA has a list reflecting the status of countries’ ability to gain certification. One Russian heavy jet ( Ilyushin IL-96T ) received FAR-25 certification as equipped in cargo configuration with PW2037 engines and a Collins cockpit like the 747-400 in the late 1990s. Advisory Circular AC-21-23B spells out what can gain FAA certification. Russian heavy aircraft are limited to cargo configuration only at this time. Two light Russian GA aircraft gained certification under FAR-23 , the IL-103 and the Beriev Be-103 ( amphibian ). Without a bilateral aviation safety agreement for passenger aircraft, there is no hope for the MC-21 marketing folks. Oh, and the other little thing.

  20. We are talking about Microsoft Flight simulator, correct?
    That’s only place where MC21 will fly in AA livery

  21. I can see America West buying a Russian plane. They will probably call it “freedom bird”.

    Heck, they even tried to convince us a bus is a “plane”.

    Wait, they already did!

  22. @MagaMan —

    Ignoring (temporarily) your unnecessary and downright ludicrous insertion of politics into a discussion of aircraft, to say things such as “Putin learned a lot from [Obama and Bush]. Use power to kill and destroy.” Now, as an observer of History and Politics (goes with my college degrees and more), I’m willing to bet that the КГБ was pretty instrumental in teaching Putin a thing or two about both Power and Killing, far more than any American President could possibly do…presuming, of course, they even wanted to — either through lectures, G8 Conferences, or through action and deed.

    As for the rest, civility and politeness does not permit me to comment further…no matter how tempting that might be.

  23. I’m not flying anything Russian made anything. I have been to Russia many times.

    As long as Putin is in control and acting like hitler and destroying the Ukrainian people, I will not support or fly t”any metal under any livery..

  24. Any American who flys this Aircraft will get a complimentary coupon
    For the Sputnik V vaccine when visiting Russia
    Putin says it it is the safest Covid vaccine in the world
    Seriously you know if the aircraft is cheap enough someone will buy it and fly the sucker

  25. Rog, Putin’s an ultranationalist who as MagaMan said (I disagree with the rest of his post) wants to revive the Russian Empire. That spread into eastern Europe so it’s logical he wants it back, even if as puppet states again. Think of him more like Alexander III, a brutal czar who wanted to freeze things with the Romanov dynasty having absolute power. Putin went along with the Communists just to get ahead, and probably would have fit in with the Nazis or any other system. He’s said publicly that Lenin was a disaster.

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