20:08 GMT12 April 2021
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    On Sunday, the MC-21, an up-and-coming jet airliner that's expected to be Russia’s answer to the Boeing-737 and the Airbus A-320, made its maiden flight with all its onboard systems working flawlessly.

    Speaking at a news conference at RIA Novosti headquarters in Moscow, Sergei Gorkov, the chairman of state-owned Vnesheconombank (VEB), said that the bank had invested around $90 million in the design and construction of the MC-21 jetliner.

    “We have a policy of supporting Russian exports and the aviation sector. This is exactly what we are doing also with the Sukhoi SuperJet-100. SuperJet exports are being entirely financed by the VEB. All the contracts that are being implemented in Ireland, Mexico and other countries are also being financed by us. As for the MC-21, we have already signed a leasing contract for 20 such planes and we will also support their sales abroad,” Gorkov said.

    He added that despite initial misgivings about the prospects of SuperJet sales in Europe, the VEB, jointly with Sukhoi Design Bureau and the United Aircraft Corporation, have been successfully exporting these planes.

    Sergei Gorkov said that there have not yet been any foreign orders for the MC-21s because the plane had just conducted its maiden voyage.

    “We will be working very hard in this direction,” he promised, adding that the VEB will be making every effort to support Russian non-resource exports.

    Work on the MC-21 first began in the late 2000s, and intensified in 2014 after the downturn in relations with Western countries. Moscow has taken a number of steps to allow Russian aviation companies to win back the commercial passenger aircraft market, both domestically and abroad.

    The MC-21 is designed to be faster, more efficient, and less expensive than its Western counterparts, incorporating the latest in the field of airframe, engine and avionics systems technology in its design.

    For example, the plane features a composite wing design, which improves fuel efficiency, and will eventually be fitted with new Russian-made PD-14 engines, which meet and exceed global safety, noise, and fuel efficiency standards.

    The plane also boasts a superior cruising speed, and costs tens of millions of dollars less than its Boeing and Airbus competitors.

    On Tuesday, RIA Novosti reported that the Russian government had instructed its representatives on the boards of directors of state companies to vote in favor of the purchase or lease of only Russian-made aircraft.

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    leasing agreement, maiden flight, financing, export, MC-21, Sukhoi SuperJet-100 (SSJ-100), VEB, Sergei Gorkov, Russia
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