Deliveries of Merpati's MA60s resume

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Xian Aircraft (XAC) has restarted deliveries of MA60 turobprop aircraft to Indonesian state-owned carrier Merpati Nusantara, after earlier problems stalled the deliveries.

Merpati placed an order for 15 MA60s in 2006, and received the first two in August 2007. However, subsequent deliveries were held up when Merpati could not obtain financing for the aircraft.

The carrier has since struck a deal with the Indonesian government and the state-owned Export-Import Bank of China for the aircraft purchase, says an airline official.

Under the agreement the bank will first pay XAC for the aircraft. Then, after five years, the Indonesian government, using funds from Merpati, will repay the bank, he adds.

XAC, a subsidiary of the Aviation Industry Corporation of China, recently delivered six MA60s to Merpati.

Deliveries took place on 29 November, 1 December and 3 December, with two aircraft delivered each time, says AVIC.

XAC aims to deliver a seventh aircraft by 15 December, and will deliver the remaining six aircraft in March 2011, it adds.

Merpati's order of 15 MA60s is the largest so far for the aircraft type, says AVIC.

The airline will operate the MA60s to domestic destinations such as Medan, Sumatra, Bali and Makassar, says the airline official.