Russian aircraft manufacturer, Irkut Corporation is making a major attempt to break into the commercial airliner business with the first flight of their Irkut MC-21-300 narrowbody jet. This is the first Russian produced large airliner since the fall of the Soviet Union.

The Irkut MC-21 is designed to compete with the most popular airliners in the world, the single-aisle Boeing (BA) 737 and Airbus (EADSF) A320.

The prototype took flight Sunday morning from the Irkutsk Aviation Plant airfield in Siberia, about 2,600 miles east of Moscow. During the 30-minute flight, the plane reached an altitude of 1,000 meters (roughly 3,300 feet).

Russia’s commercial aerospace industry has struggled over the past quarter century to regain the strength it had during the Soviet era. Through projects backed by President Vladimir Putin, it has sought to shed its reputation for advanced, but unreliable, passenger aircraft.” – CNN Money

The Chinese are also actively trying to enter the commercial airliner business. Their C919 flew earlier this month and is the first large airliner that they have domestically designed and produced.

Featured image by United Aircraft Corporation