China's new turboprop rolls off production line.
July 05, 2008 The MA600 is scheduled to begin trials in September. Up to 30 a year could be made according to market demand. China has unveiled a more advanced home-made turboprop aeroplane, moving a step closer to its ambitious goal of becoming one of the world's major propeller plane providers, state press said. The 60-seat "Modern Ark 600" (MA600), comparable to versions from Canada's Bombardier and France's ATR, was launched on Sunday, with deliveries to customers expected to start next year, the Xinhua news agency reported. The new aircraft is lighter than the first and only model of the MA series now on the market, the 50-60 seat MA60, which has received 122 orders since 2005, mainly from African and Southeast Asian countries, it said. Producer China Aviation Industry Corp. I (AVIC I) has already started developing the 70-seat MA700 as it seeks to break into markets in developed countries, it added. The company has set a target for the MA series of 40 percent of the world's turboprop aircraft market in 2018, previous reports said. The MA600 is scheduled to begin trials in September. Up to 30 a year could be made according to market demand, they said. The MA700 is expected to be available on the market in five years, according to Xinhua. Demand for more energy efficient propeller aircraft, commonly used on short and medium-haul flights, is expected to rise amid high global oil prices, as large jets are wasteful and more costly for regional routes, Xinhua said. In the next 20 years, the world will need 1,900 turboprop planes, or around 35 percent of the demand for regional aircraft, according to joint research by Bombardier and the Aviation Industry Development Research Centre of China.