FARNBOROUGH: Malaysian customer drops MS-21 order

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Aeroflot has emerged as the first prospective recipient of the Irkut MS-21 after Malaysian financial company Crecom Burj backed away from its early commitment to acquire 50.

Crecom Burj was to take 25 MS-21-200s, configured with 150 seats, and an equal number of 170-seat -300 variants.

But Irkut president Alexey Fyodorov says the fledgling lessor has effectively ceased to be a launch customer for the type. Speaking at the Farnborough air show, he said the company's management had been reshuffled following a change in ownership.

"The new management has reviewed the original agreement and chosen to transform it into an optional format with no definitive delivery timeframe," says Fyodorov.

"On the other hand, had they not backtracked on the firm order, there would have been no possibility for us to start delivering MS-21s to Aeroflot before 2020."

Fyodorov says Aeroflot will be the first recipient of serially-produced MS-21s through Rostekhnologii's leasing arm Aviakapital-Servis, which last month firmed an order for 35.

Aeroflot has tentatively pledged to take up to 50 MS-21s between 2016 and 2020.

Irkut has agreed to co-operate with Aeroflot to create a technical support system for MS-21s. Under the protocol, signed at the show, Irkut will work with Aeroflot to build the aircraft to its specifications and reduce operational costs.

The agreement envisages joint development of after-sales support infrastructure centred on a designated facility at Aeroflot's maintenance base, which will provide a renewable stock of components.

Irkut will also assist Aeroflot in training cockpit crews for the MS-21.