Russia surprised the airline industry with news that they had a successful test flight of a new passenger plane.
Aircraft manufacturer, Irkut Corporation, announced that its MC-21-300 had successfully flown for 30 minutes at a height of 1000 meters.
"[The] flight mission is accomplished. The flight went in the normal mode. There are no obstacles revealed preventing the tests continuation," the lead test pilot, Oleg Kononenko, is quoted as saying on the Irkut Corp. website.
Irkut also stated that it has an initial portfolio of 175 "firm orders" which will maintain production capacity "in the coming years."
The mid-range passenger airplane reportedly flew at a speed of 300 kilometers per hour.
The aircraft has the capacity to fit between 163 and 211 passengers and a maximum flight range of 6,000 kilometers. The MC-21-300 is positioned to compete with the Boeing 737 and the Airbus A320.
Irkut claims that the new plane is superior to existing rivals, highlighting its extensive use of polymer composite materials. The Russian plane maker also lauded the new generation engines which it said reduced fuel consumption, emitted lower noise and pumped out less hazardous emissions. "[The] calculated reduction of direct operational costs for MC-21 is 12-15 percent lower than for counterparts," the statement added.
In 2014, the program cost of the plane was estimated by Russian state media to be 164 billion rubles ($4.6 billion), but delivery dates have slipped since then.