Con­struc­tion starts on AVIC re­gional jet

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - NATION - By ZHAO LEI zhaolei@chi­

Avi­a­tion In­dus­try Corp of China, the State-owned air­craft gi­ant, has be­gun to build its MA700 tur­bo­prop air­liner, plan­ning to con­duct its first flight in 2019, ac­cord­ing to the company.

Pro­duc­tion for the air­craft’s flaps started on Thurs­day at an AVIC plant in Xi’an, Shaanxi prov­ince. On the same day, the plane’s doors be­gan to be made at another AVIC fac­tory in Shenyang, Liaon­ing prov­ince, ac­cord­ing to AVIC.

De­vel­op­ment of the MA700, China’s latest re­gional air­liner, was launched in De­cem­ber 2013 and has been listed by the gov­ern­ment as an im­por­tant pro­gram that will boost the coun­try’s civil avi­a­tion in­dus­try, to­gether with the C919 and ARJ21 jet­lin­ers.

AVIC said the plane adopts a host of ad­vanced tech­nolo­gies such as fly-by­wire flight con­trol and mod­u­lar avion­ics. It will make its maiden flight in Novem­ber 2019 and is ex­pected to be de­liv­ered to buy­ers in 2021, re­plac­ing its pre­de­ces­sors — the MA60 and its vari­ants that were de­vel­oped in the 1990s, ac­cord­ing to the company.

So far, AVIC has re­ceived or­ders for 185 MA700s from 11 sev­eral do­mes­tic and for­eign clients in­clud­ing Joy Air and Cam­bo­dia Bayon Air­lines, the re­lease said.

Dong Jian­hong, chief de­signer of the MA700, said that the air­liner fea­tures good adapt­abil­ity for air­ports with poor con­di­tions and is able to take off and land on short run­ways.

He said the plane is suit­able for op­er­a­tions on plateaus or in places with high tem­per­a­tures, so it will suit China’s western re­gions, high-al­ti­tude ar­eas in Latin America and trop­i­cal ar­eas in South­east Asia and Africa.

Com­pared with its com­peti­tors in the in­ter­na­tional mar­ket, the MA700 has bet­ter op­er­a­tional econ­omy, a more com­fort­able cabin en­vi­ron­ment as well as a num­ber of greener de­sign el­e­ments, Dong added.

Sources from AVIC pre­vi­ously ex­plained that the MA700 se­ries aims to take at least one-third of the global mar­ket for tur­bo­prop air­lin­ers, ex­plain­ing its ma­jor ri­vals in the mar­ket are Europe’s ATR 72 se­ries and Canada’s Bom­bardier Q400 se­ries.

They said AVIC plans to ap­ply for air­wor­thi­ness cer­ti­fi­ca­tion with the United States’ Fed­eral Avi­a­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion and the Euro­pean Avi­a­tion Safety Agency so the plane can en­ter the Western mar­ket.

Spec­i­fi­ca­tions from AVIC show that pow­ered by two PW150C en­gines, the MA700 has a max­i­mum take­off weight of 27.6 met­ric tons, a max­i­mum pay­load of 8.6 tons, a cruise speed of 580 kilo­me­ters per hour as well as a stan­dard range of 1,500 km. It will be ca­pa­ble of car­ry­ing up to 86 pas­sen­gers.

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