Beijing, China - Chinese state-owned aerospace and defense conglomerate Avic’s new turboprop aircraft program has entered its final production phase.
Avic aims to carry out the first flight with the new turboprop by the end of this year if ground testing of aircraft goes as planned.
Avic's Xian MA700 is a twin-engine, medium-range turboprop airliner. The first MA700 is expected to leave the final assembly line by the second half of 2020, one year later than previously planned.
MA700 has so far accumulated 285 orders from 11 customers. Chinese operators Okay Airways and Joy Air are the launch customers for the aircraft. The aircraft will be powered by two PW150C engines produced by Pratt & Whitney. The 86-seater plane has a flight range of up to 2700 km (1457.8 NM).
Avic announced Xian MA700 program in 2007 and introduced it to the market at the Zuhai Air Show in 2008. The capability and performance of the aircraft have a potential of being the ATR 72 of China, the world's best-selling commercial turboprop.
The MA700 is one of four commercial aircraft currently under development in China and the only one in this segment. Other projects are led by COMAC, another Chinese state-owned manufacturer - the A320neo and 737 MAX competitor C919, the widebody jet program CR929 developed with Russian UAC and the regional ARJ21.jet.