United Aircraft has pushed back the start of its flight-test programme for the Irkut MC-21 twinjet toward the end of 2016.

"We now plan to roll out the first prototype by mid-2016 and launch flight tests by the end of next year," says Russian industry and trade minister Denis Manturov.

First flight had been scheduled for the second quarter of 2016. Prior to its revision, the original plan had envisioned a maiden sortie in 2014.

"We need to ensure high quality of the MC-21 components made from composite materials," says Manturov. "I think that the risks of building crude and technically immature aircraft are absolutely unjustified."

In November, Irkut said the fuselage for a first pre-production MC-21 had already been assembled at the manufacturer's facility in Irkutsk and that wings would be attached the following month.

Source: Cirium Dashboard