U.S. sanctions on Russia have taken their toll and impacted the production of the MC-21 passenger jet, which Russia hoped could revive its civil aviation industry. As a result, it has been delayed for a year, the head of the state-owned tech conglomerate Rostec said Monday.
“Due to the fact that the Americans have stopped supplying composite materials, we are switching to our own,” Sergey Chemezov told reporters in Abu Dhabi. “The date of the beginning of mass production is slightly shifting” and is now expected by the end of 2020, he added.
Sanctions came into force last September against Russian companies involved in the creation of the plane, which Washington said were acting “contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States.”
Both Rostec and Chemezov have been specifically targeted in separate rounds of sanctions.
Russia unveiled the prototype of the MC-21 in 2016, originally announcing plans for it to come into service in late 2018. The plane, produced by the Irkut Corporation, was designed to challenge Western-based industry giants Airbus and Boeing.
The MC-21 can carry up to 211 passengers and is designed for the mass-market travel industry. It can fly up to 6,000 kilometers (3,700 miles), according to the makers.
The makers have promised a “new level of comfort” for passengers thanks to the largest fuselage in the plane’s class and large windows.
Irkut says it has signed contracts with a number of airlines, including Russian flagship carrier Aeroflot, UTair and the Kyrgyzstan Air Company.
The delayed launch would come nine years after Russia’s short-haul Sukhoi Superjet 100aircraft came into service in 2011. It has since suffered serious technical issues that have forced the plane’s grounding.