Maiden flight of MC-21 Copyright: Denis Fedorko

News from Volga-Dnepr Group that it “might become the possible launch customer” for the MC-21 freighter version has been dismissed as gentle political posturing.

The group said today that, during last week’s MAKS 2021 show in Russia, chairman Alexey Isayskin toured the MC-21-300, the new Russian passenger aircraft.

Manufacturer Irkut has touted a freighter version, but there is very little information available about its plans.

Volga-Dnepr Group – which operates the no-longer manufactured AN-124, as well as 747 freighters, which are also reaching the end of production – in common with other cargo operators is considering new freighter options.

The group said: “During the visit, the companies discussed the possibility of the production of a freighter version. Amid the capacity constraints, emerging demand for freighters and increase of cargo volumes worldwide, Irkut Corporation is in a favourable position to commence the freighter programme.

“Volga-Dnepr Group might become the possible launch customer of the MC-21-200 freighter version.”

The MC-21 is an alternative to a B737-800, so it would not cover Volga-Dnepr Group’s needs, although its subsidiary, Atran, operates 737 freighters.

One source close to the group said: “I would not read much into it. It will never happen, but it could help calm the Russian government about the group’s use of American aircraft.

“V-D is smart enough to know that the phrase it used, ‘ready to review’, is an innocuous-enough term to make everyone happy.”

Comment on this article

You must be logged in to post a comment.