Ukraine Crisis: The Tupolev 214 – The New Russian Airbus A321?

Björn Strey, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Björn Strey, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

LONDON – The Russian Airbus A321 alternative, the Tupolev 214, will be expecting deliveries from 2024 and onwards to counter western-slapped sanctions aimed at the Russian aviation industry.

The aviation landscape in Russia drastically pivoted after the 24th of February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, prompting industries leaders to revive their homegrown aircraft programs. 

About The Tupolev 214…


The Tupolev 214 is somewhat akin to its western rival the A321. The TU-214 seats 212 passengers in a standard 2-class configuration, equipped with two galleys and three lavatories with a range of 2,590 nm.

A two-class cabin, however, can seat up to approximately 150 passengers and can fly further to 3,720 nm.

The A321ceo on the other hand can fly up to 3,200nm carrying between 185 to 236 passengers depending on the cabin configuration. On short-haul routes, the TU-214 has a slight disadvantage due to its heavier structure. 

The TU- 214 is based on the older variant the TU-204 built-in 1989, primarily used by airlines in Russia.

The resurrection of the Tupolev 214 project is evidence that the Russian aviation industry is operating in a survival mode to meander through sanctions imposed by the west.

According to Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister, Yuri Borisov, the Kazan Aircraft Production Association (KAPO) is expected to manufacture 10 aircraft per year with the hopes of providing an alternative to the western-made narrow-body jets.

Andrew Yelchaninov, a board member of the Russian Military-Industrial Commission stated on the 1st of April that the country could establish additional aircraft manufacturing centers in Kazan, a city in the Tatarstan region of Russia, where it is tapped to become the country’s next aerospace hub.

Sanctions Are Hurting…


In addition to producing the Tupolev 214, the country also explores increasing production on the already existing Sukhoi Super Jet SJ100 regional aircraft and the Irkut MC-21.

Furthermore, Yelchaninov added that sanctions have affected the country’s aircraft spare parts inventory, especially on the western build Airbus’s and Boeings.

The aircraft manufacturing center in Kazan city is therefore aimed to be a single one-stop service center for spare parts, namely for the civilian Tupolev 214 and the cargo Illyushin-76.

The Russian-made SJ100 jets are also being impacted by the shortage, especially on their engines after PowerJet, a Russo – French company indefinitely ceased its operations in Russia.

The skies of Russia are still populated by western made aircraft, namely the Boeing 737s and the Airbus  A320s. Only one airline in Russia, Red Wings Airlines is still flying the TU-214, along with a handful of A320s.

Overall…


The Tupolev 214 has been championed as an alternative aircraft, as it is already certified and importantly 100% Russian built, meaning that spare parts are readily available, unlike the Super Jets.

Production for the first batch of the airframe is already underway but it is still unknown which airline will take delivery of the aircraft.

The A321s provide a much greater economy than the TU-214 at twice the price of the Russian jet, but to conclude that the TU-214 will replace the A320s family more so the A321, is still an overstatement in a post-Ukraine-Russia war era. 

Only time will tell whether it is a viable alternative depends on the orders made by Russian airliners. Kazan is ready to manufacture the Tupolev but will any airliners be interested?

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