In another attempt to break the Boeing-Airbus duopoly, a Russian startup company is attempting to redefine the market with a new aircraft concept whose unique characteristics place it in a category of its own.
Rosavia, a Moscow-based private company, has named the project “The Frigate Ecojet.” The new aircraft is being conceptualized in order to cater to a very niche market. When an airline needs to transport a large number of passengers over relatively short distances, it has two choices. One option is to use a wide-body airline which is much heavier than required for short distances. The other is to use multiple narrow-body aircraft, flying at higher frequency.
Neither is an ideal solution.
The Frigate Ecojet, a project that started back in 1991, aims to bridge this market gap by combining the capacity of a wide-body aircraft with the economics and range of a narrow-bodied one. It is being designed to fly between 276 and 358 passengers over distances of 3,000 to 4,000 nautical miles. Although currently a private company, Rosavia follows the tradition of Russia’s aircraft design bureaus. Some of its senior technical personnel were involved in the roll-out of airliners such as the medium-range Tupolev Tu-204 and the Tu-214.
Rosavia’s market study shows most of the demand for its new aircraft coming from Asia, where the Frigate Ecojet could serve the growth in high-density routes between the region’s major cities such as Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpar, Singapore and more.
With a catalog price of $120 million, there’s no doubt that the Frigate Ecojet is a bold and ambitious undertaking. Rosavia is plowing ahead with its plans to serially produce the Frigate Ecojet, and hopes to be operational by 2018.