Harbin Aircraft's latest Y-12 turboprop will have a larger fuselage, improved aerodynamics, a retractable landing gear and more powerful engines.
The Y-12F is a passenger aircraft that seats 18 passengers - the same number as the original - but will have a wider fuselage, says Liang Zhenhe, vice-president of Harbin Aircraft's parent Aviation Industry Corporation II.
The changes are being made because one of the Y-12's main export markets is the south Pacific and some airlines there said the aircraft needs to have larger seats to accommodate Pacific islanders who are generally large in build.
There was also some "feedback from the market...that the speed of the Y-12 was not as quick as expected", so Harbin Aircraft is increasing the thrust of the Pratt & Whitney Canada engines, says Liang.
Improved aerodynamics will be achieved by having a retractable landing gear, he says.
Liang says the Y-12F is expected to receive Chinese certification in 2009 and US Federal Aviation Administration certification in 2010. The current Y-12 already has FAA Part 23 certification.
Changes are being made to appeal to the Y-12's main export markets