China has started developing a new turbo-propelled regional aircraft Modern Ark 700 (MA 700) for the high-end international market, announced an executive of China's leading aircraft manufacturer on Wednesday.
This new generation, updated from the MA 600, will be more energy-efficient and fit for high altitude aviation, said Geng Ruoguang, vice general manager of China Aviation Industry Corporation I (AVIC I).
The 70-seat MA 700 regional aircraft, developed by Xi'an Aircraft Industry Company (XAC) of AVIC I, is expected to be marketable in 2014, Geng told a forum on international commercial aircraft.
"MA 700 targets high-end customers in the international market. We hope it will receive the airworthiness certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the United States," Geng said.
The 60-seat MA600, also developed by XAC, launched its maiden flight in October in Tianjin and has received 12 orders. It would be delivered to clients from the second half of 2009..
Experts say turboprop regional aircraft are the most economical and energy-efficient on short and medium range flights, which lay the market foundation for the MA series.