Russian airframer Irkut expects to finalise at least two agreements for the supply of 40 MC-21 twinjets this week at the Moscow MAKS air show.
"A deal with [provincial carrier] IrAero envisages firming the order for 10 aircraft," says Irkut president Oleg Demchenko. "The other will cover the delivery of 30 MC-21s to lessor VEB Leasing."
According to Russian industry and trade deputy minister Yuri Slyusar, several government agencies might also turn to the MC-21.
"At some point, the presidential administration's flight detachment, as well as defence and interior ministries, will need to replace their Tupolev Tu-204/214s and Ilyushin Il-62s," he says. "The MC-21 appears to be a natural choice."
Apart from 135 firm orders, there are 91 airframe commitments in Irkut's portfolio, says marketing and sales executive Kirill Budayev. "We'll announce new firm orders [for the MC-21] shortly," he adds.
Irkut has already begun assembly of four MC-21 prototypes - one for static trials and three for flight tests. Meanwhile, airframe structural evaluations are underway at two sites.
The aircraft's rear fuselage section is being tested at Riga-based facility Aviatest and centre fuselage barrel at TsAGI in Zhukovsky "So far, the results are in line with our expectations," says Budayev.