Russian airframer Irkut has begun exploratory talks with Bombardier over plans to cooperate in providing customer support for its planned MC-21 narrowbody airliner. Irkut wants to tap the Canadian group’s expertise in setting up customer support infrastructure. The 212-seat MC-21-300 is due to complete EASA certification and enter service in 2017, after making a first flight in 2015. This is due to be followed by a 165-seat MC-21-200 version. Irkut says it has contracts calling for approximately 250 of the new aircraft, with 135 of these being subject to firm orders. All the initial orders and commitments for the aircraft are from carriers within Russia or the Commonwealth of Independent States.
Bombardier announced the discussions with Irkut at the Maks airshow in Moscow, where it is displaying its Q400 NextGen twin-turboprop aircraft, as well as cockpit and cabin demonstrators for its new CSeries narrowbody.