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China's Regional Turboprop Finding Customers

Company Reports 100 Potential Buyers

Chinese media reports state the Xi'an Aircraft Company has orders for 32 of its Xinzhou-60, or MA60 twin turboprop aircraft. Six of the regional passenger planes are already in service in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Laos and the Republic of Congo.

Representatives with Xi'an -- which is part of China's vast Aviation Industry Corporation I, or AVIC-I -- says it will deliver six more to unspecified customers before year's end.

"Now we have at least 100 potential buyers in 24 counties to help us realize the 2007 target," said Xian President Fu Shula to China Daily.

According to data on the company website, the MA60 is a 60-passenger short- to medium-range passenger plane. It's pressurized, and is fully-certified for day and night, and all-weather operations.

Xi'an says the plane is capable of operations from unimproved runways, and excels at "high-hot" operations.

The aircraft sports two Pratt and Whitney Canada PW-127J engines turning four-bladed Hamilton Sundstrand props -- the same engine-prop combo on the ATR-72, which the plane bears a strong resemblance to. The plane is actually an improved version of China's Yunshuji Y7-200A (below), which in turn was based off the Russian Antonov 24. It first flew in 1993... but entered passenger service in 2002.

Xi'an says the plane needs only 4000 ft for takeoff, and cruises 250 knots at 20,000 feet.

FMI: www.ma60.com

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