Belarus' Belavia Likely to Become First International Operator of Russian MC-21 Airliner

Belarus to Collaborate in Production of MC-21 Aircraft Following High-Level Visit to Irkutsk Aviation Plant
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  • 06:07 AM, June 6, 2024
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Belarus' Belavia Likely to Become First International Operator of Russian MC-21 Airliner
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko at Russian Irkutsk plant on June 5, 2024.

Belavia, the flag carrier of Belarus, is poised to become the first international operator of the Russian MC-21 airliner, with the country expected to contribute to the aircraft's production.

On June 5, President of the Republic of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, accompanied by a delegation, visited the Irkutsk Aviation Plant of the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC). The Belarusian delegation toured the production shops that manufacture both military and civilian products.

Belarus is a significant customer of Russian aircraft; the armed forces of the republic operate both types of aircraft mass-produced at the Irkutsk Aviation Plant: the Su-30SM multirole fighters and the Yak-130 combat trainers

Belarus' Belavia Likely to Become First International Operator of Russian MC-21 Airliner
MC-21 airliner

During the visit, opportunities for increasing cooperation in the field of aircraft manufacturing were discussed. UAC General Director Yuri Slyusar provided insights into the production technologies of the MC-21-310 civil airliner, according to a statement from Russia’s state-owned Rostec.

The Belarusian airline Belavia has previously expressed interest in purchasing MC-21 aircraft and may become one of the first potential operators of the promising Russian airliner abroad. As part of the implementation of the import substitution program and the goal of increasing the production rate of Russian aircraft, UAC aims to enhance cooperation with enterprises in the Republic of Belarus.

“We are increasing production volumes of Russian aircraft, and have repeatedly visited Belarusian aviation factories. These enterprises have preserved the aviation production culture. Therefore, now it is important to move from the cooperation that we had on aircraft repair and military programs to scaling our tasks on civilian products. Potentially, billions of rubles are the order that we can place with Belarusian aviation enterprises. These are parts, assemblies. Economically and technologically we are very close. We have signed contracts, we are already cooperating, we are creating nomenclature for the Tu-214, we need to scale this up and take it to a new level. This requires political will and organization of processes, calculations, and investments. First of all, this is cooperation on civil and transport programs. As for the MC-21, we are interested in expanding the pool of potential operators, including Belavia Airlines. The more experience we have in operating different airlines, the more this will allow us to make our aircraft better,” said UAC General Director and Soyuzmash Vice President Yuri Slyusar.

Lukashenko recently visited the facilities of the Belarusian firm JSC Legmash, which is reportedly producing artillery ammunition for Russia on a large scale.

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