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China's regional aircraft maker eyes surge in global sales

(Xinhua)

09:47, October 19, 2011

XI'AN, Oct. 18 (Xinhua) -- China's Xi'an Aircraft plans to take the biggest share of the world market for turboprop regional aircraft by 2020, boosted by its home-grown models experiencing a global sales surge, a company executive said Tuesday.

The "Modern Ark 60" (MA60) has received 249 orders worldwide since 2005 as demand for energy-efficient propeller aircraft has been on the rise amid high global oil prices, according to its manufacturer Xi'an Aircraft International Corporation.

Sixty-six of the 50-60 seat aircraft were delivered to a dozen nations, mostly in Africa, Southeast Asia and South America, where they have been used on roughly 200 short and medium-haul lines.

The company's General Manager Jiang Jianjun forecasts that in the next 20 years the world will need 2,920 turboprop planes with seating capacity ranging from 30 to 90, and a large part will come from his company's MA series.

The 60-seat MA600, a more advanced version of the MA60, launched its maiden flight in 2008 and the first one was delivered to a Chinese aviation college last year.

Xi'an Aircraft, which has an ambition to break into markets in developed countries, has also started developing the 70-seat MA700. Deliveries are expected to start in 2015.

The company aims to secure 15 to 25 orders for its MA series annually in the coming five years, and increase its annual orders to 70 during the 2021-2030 period, Jiang said.

China also plans to build its own jumbo jets with more than 100 seats to compete with global giants Boeing and Airbus. A new firm was launched in 2008 to implement the task and has already unveiled the 70-90 seat ARJ21 regional jet.

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