Why Russia Created The PD-14 Engine For MC-21

The Aviadvigatel PD-14 is the first turbofan jet engine created in modern Russia. There are high hopes with…

Why Russia Created The PD-14 Engine For MC-21

The Aviadvigatel PD-14 is the first turbofan jet engine created in modern Russia. There are high hopes with the product as it prepares to hit the skies with the Irkut MC-21 this decade. However, why was the engine built? Let’s take a look.

With the PD-14’s durable titanium and nickel alloys, operating costs are assumed to be up to 17% less than similar engines, while the life cycle cost is expected to be 15-20% lower. Photo: Getty Images

Three decades in the making

MC-21-300s equipped with Pratt & Whitney PW1400G engines were already being tested under a certification program in accordance with Russian and European standards. However, the aircraft also started being tested with PD-14 engines, which cleared emission tests set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) earlier this year.

With this momentum, Rostec, the powerhouse behind Russia’s aviation scene, is keen to highlight the abilities of its homegrown engine. Notably, the last project of its kind was the fourth-generation PS-90A engine, built in the Soviet Union in the 1980s.

The inspiration to create a new generation engine began in the 1990s. Even back then Russia was keen to connect its industries with homegrown products.

After years of preliminary research initiated by the country’s domestic engine groups, an agreement was signed in 2008 to create the PD-14. This name represents the Russian word perspektivnyi dvigatel and a thrust of 14 tons. Thus, UEC-Aviadvigatel and UEC-Perm Engine joined together to lead the development and manufacturing of the engine.

Russia hopes to become more self-reliant with initiatives such as the PD-14 engine. Photo: Sumit Singh | Simple Flying

Ground testing began nine years ago before flight tests started in 2015. There was then a major breakthrough in 2018 when Federal Air Transport Agency Rosaviatsiya issued it a type certificate. Following this, the PD-14 passed additional tests in relation to restrictions on smoke and emissions of “non-volatile particles.”

MC-21 Jet
The MC-21 will be offered in American and Russian engines, with the latter to be prioritized for domestic fleets. Photo: Sumit Singh | Simple Flying

Medium-range opportunities

There is a lot of excitement surrounding the engine. Notably, Russia’s aviation industry has full faith in it to fit it on its major upcoming narrowbody aircraft.

“PD-14 engine was developed for the next-generation Russian airliner MS-21-310, the “Mainline aircraft of the 21st century”. It belongs to the most massive segment of passenger aircraft: short-to-medium-haul narrow-body airliners. MS-21 is a future generation aircraft that combines advanced aerodynamics, modern materials, a highly efficient power plant and advanced control systems, as well as new solutions for passenger comfort,” Rostec states.

“Design on the aircraft was carried out in parallel with the development of the engine. As other promising models of domestic and joint production like Il-114, SSJ100 and CR929, MS-21 aircraft can provide the Russian aviation industry with comprehensive presence in the global civilian aircraft market. According to experts’ forecasts, MS-21 can take from 5 to 10% of the world market in its segment.”

MC-21 Tail
The MC-21 will enter service next year. Photo: Sumit Singh | Simple Flying

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Offering a balance

Altogether, the MC-21 is looking to compete against the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 families on short and medium-haul services. With it coming in two engine options, Rostec is able to diversify its markets.

What are your thoughts about the PD-14 engine? How do you feel it compares with its competitors across the globe? Let us know what you think of the product and its prospects in the comment section.

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LOT Polish Latest To Face Aid Legal Action From Ryanair

Ryanair is sticking to its habit of contesting state aid packages provided to European airlines. The latest complaint…

LOT Polish Latest To Face Aid Legal Action From Ryanair

Ryanair is sticking to its habit of contesting state aid packages provided to European airlines. The latest complaint Ryanair made was to the European Court of Justice against LOT Polish Airlines, the national airline and flag carrier of Poland.

LOT Polish Airlines received state aid from Poland, and Ryanair is challenging this. Photo: Getty Images

LOT Polish Airlines is the latest in a long line

As has become standard practice for Ryanair, this pan-European airline is contesting yet another package of state aid provided to a European national airline during the ongoing pandemic.

The latest airline under the spotlight is LOT Polish Airlines, for which Ryanair launched the appeal this month, July 2021.

LOT Polish received PLN 2.9 billion ($787 million) in state aid in December 2020. Two-thirds of that amount came in the form of a loan, and a third came in the form of a capital increase.

Speaking to Puls Biznesu, Juliusz Komorek, a board member of the Ryanair group, said (translated):

“We appealed to the General Court of the European Court of Justice against the decision in the LOT case, at the beginning of July. The case is pending. The next step will be the reaction of the European Commission and probably the intervention of Poland that will support it. I suspect that the entire process will not take place until 2022.”

LOT Polish Airlines Boeing 737-400
LOT Polish received PLN three billion. Photo: Getty Images

LOT Polish has already responded

An official from LOT Polish Airlines has already responded to this news, also speaking to Puls Biznesu. Krzysztof Moczulski, a spokesman for LOT, said:

“Ryanair accuses the European Commission, among other things, of misapplication of state aid rules, including of recapitalization as a support measure, instead of other, less market-distorting forms. It should be noted, however, that before adopting the decision, the Commission carefully analyzed the LOT case, the conditions of the aid provided, the necessity for it, and the appropriateness of the forms of support accepted.”

Why does LOT need state aid?

In 2019, LOT Polish carried just under 10,5 million passengers. In 2020, the number was just slightly over three million, representing a drop of over 70%.

The drop is particularly striking because LOT had extensive expansion plans for 2020, and it was projecting double-digit passenger growth from 2019 to 2020, so the actual damage to the airline as a result of the pandemic is in effect far greater than a 70% loss.

The airline made a loss of over a billion PLN ($260 million) in 2020

Ryanair Lufthansa
Ryanair continues to appeal state aid decisions. Photo: Getty Images

Ryanair continues to launch appeals

Ryanair launched 17 appeals against the European Commission so far, challenging the approval of multiple billions of euros that European governments have provided to their national airlines during COVID-19.

Two of these appeals have so far been successful: in May, the European Union’s General Court determined that state aid granted to Air France-KLM and TAP violated the rules. Still, the airlines have not been asked to repay the funds they received.

What do you think of Ryanair launching appeals against the provision of state aid for loss-making European national airlines? Let us know what you think of this story in the comments below.

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