Avic’s new turboprop programme, the MA700, has entered its final production phase, with the airframer targeting a maiden sortie by this year.

According to a report by state news agency Xinhua, the first MA700 is expected to roll off the production line by the middle of the year.

State-owned Avic had earlier indicated that the first MA700 would be completed by the end of 2019.

It has, however, been making progress with the development of the type in the past year. In September, the first MA700 fuselage joined with the wings. 

To date, AVIC says the MA700 has 285 orders from 11 operators. The aircraft, to be powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PW150C engines, is suitable for “short distance feeder transportation” of about 800km. The 86-seater has a range of up to 2,700km.