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Russia's United hopes to firm 50-strong MS-21 order

posted Jul 20, 2010, 7:10 AM by Rowan Hewitt

By Graham Dunn

Russia's United Aircraft has signed an order for up to 50 of its MS-21 twinjets and says it hopes to reveal the launch customer at the show.

Confirming that a deal has been signed, United chairman Alexey Fyodorov says: "I hope during this air show to announce our first contract with our launch customer." He adds that he cannot reveal the name of the customer, but hopes to announce it in a few days. The order will be or about 50 aircraft.

During the ILA show in Berlin in June, United indicated it had reached a tentative agreement with Crecom Burj, a Malaysia-based investment company specialising in transportation and financial services, and hoped to firm the order later this year.

Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin recently urged Aeroflot to acquire the home-grown MS-21. Asked if he is confident of securing the airline as a customer, Fyodorov says: "I hope Aeroflot also will be our customer because we designed a very good aircraft." He believes any interest from Aeroflot will not be simply based on political pressure but rather it will be commercial interest.

Progress continues on the development of the MS-21 after it passed the milestone of the pre-design stage last year. Oleg Demchenko, president of Irkut, which is acting as a systems integrator, describes the demonstration of the mock-up at Farnborough as a significant moment.