IRKUT MC-21 analysis, Part 2

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Feb. 24, 2016, ©. Leeham Co: Two weeks ago we started our analysis of the new Russian single aisle aircraft, United Aircraft’s Irkut MC-21. We looked at key design features and compared these to the Airbus A320.

We also analyzed the passenger capacity where we found that the model which will start flight testing, the MC-21-300, has a capacity between the A320 and the A321. The closest aircraft in capacity and performance in the MC-21 lineup versus the competition would be the MC-21-200 and A320neo.

We have therefore decided to do our efficiency analysis between these variants.


  • The MC-21 has a wider fuselage than the A320. This is a positive as it allows passengers to pass each other in the aisle of the cabin.
  • The drawback of the wider fuselage is a bit higher aircraft drag.
  • Coupled with a lower wing aspect ratio, the lighter MC-21 cannot open a fuel consumption advantage over the A320neo, despite being a more modern design.

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