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MS-21 shows its colours

posted Jul 27, 2010, 1:37 AM by Rowan Hewitt



By Victoria Moores

Irkut debuted the interior of its new 150- to 210-seat MS-21 twinjet family at the show, where it racked up orders from Ilyushin Finance, Russian lessor VEB-Lizing and Malaysian investment firm Crecom Burj.

On board the bright and spacious MS-21 cabin mock-up, Irkut presented a four-abreast business cabin and six abreast in economy. It is planning to offer extra-large windows and generous overhead stowage, which it labels as being "more effective" than any other in production single aisle. Seats will weigh from 9kg (20lb) and will be the widest in their class.

The manufacturer says the MS-21's head room of 351cm (138in) will have an 18cm advantage on the Boeing 737 and nearly 14cm on the Airbus A320. It is also claiming 4-7cm extra shoulder room compared with its future rivals.

And now the type has attracted its first customers. Ilyushin Finance ordered 28 MS-21s and optioned a further 22 more, VEB-Lizing committed to 15 of the type with 15 options and fledgling lessor Crecom signed for 50 aircraft, which it plans to place on a dry lease basis.

Crecom, in particular, has ambitions of a full-on partnership with Irkut. It is seeking exclusive regional marketing rights for the MS-21 - covering both sales and leasing.

"For Irkut, we want to be the only player in the region. I don't want to have to compete with other MS-21 suppliers," says Crecom chief executive Mohamad Isa Abdullah. "We are asking for marketing and distribution rights. As a minimum, we are looking for the seven members of the ASEAN, part of South-East Asia and some other less developed areas."

Crecom is also looking to mastermind a regional support centre for the MS-21 family through an industrial and technical co-operation which forms part of the supply contract. This would cover technical support and all types of training and could later be extended to include parts manufacturing and a final assembly line, says Mohamad Isa.

"This would be us paving the way for other companies within the country; most likely it [the provider] would not be us," he says.

Irkut is expecting to secure up to 100 MS-21 orders this year. Entry into service is scheduled for 2016.