Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev makes a speech in the debut of MS-21 aircraft on June 8, 2016 in Irkutsk, Russia. (XINHUA/SPUTNIK)
MOSCOW, May 4 (Xinhua) -- Russian aircraft manufacturer Irkut has released the first flying prototype of the Russian narrow-body MS-21 (MC-21) aircraft, the Russian newspaper Izvestia reported Thursday.
The airplane is now being prepared for its first test flight, Izvestia said, adding that the Russian airline Aeroflot will be the first operator.
According to the newspaper, the MS-21 aircraft is positioned as a competitor to Boeing 737 and Airbus A320.
New aircraft deliveries are expected in late 2018- early 2019, the report said.
The MS-21 aircraft is a twin-engine short- to mid-range Russian jet airliner with a capacity for between 150 and 212 passengers.