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Monday, March 13, 2000, updated at 12:00(GMT+8)


China Displays New Prop Plane

China's new domestically made MA60 airplane flew two consecutive flights Sunday morning. The propeller-driven plane, with a panda painted on the fuselage, is 24 meters long and eight meters high, and has 60 seats.

Insiders note that the birth of the MA60 marks China's coming of age in its ability to manufacture advanced modern civilian aircraft.

The Xi'an Aircraft Industrial Corporation under the China Aviation Industry Corporation (AVIC I), the MA60s manufacturer, first tested the plane in 1993, according to Liu Gaozhuo, president of AVIC I.

Numerous tests followed, showing that the MA60s safety performance and efficiency had both reached world standards, said Liu.

In 1998, the MA60 acquired the navigability certificate from the Civil Aviation Administration of China, and a year later, two MA60s were put into operation by Chang'an Airlines.

Based on projections, China's market demand for these planes in the next two decades is expected to be more than 400, so the MA60 may have good prospects here, as well as on the markets of southeast Asia, Africa, and Latin America, noted Liu.

Liu also revealed that six domestic airlines including Sichuan Airlines, Northern Airlines, and Zhongyuan Airlines have ordered a total of 26 MA60s.

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