Franco-Italian regional aircraft consortium ATR is to extend a 1997 memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Aviation Industries of China (AVIC), keeping open the possibility of establishing an ATR 72-500 production line in China.

Xian Aircraft (XAC) has been producing the aircraft's fuselage section 16 since last year. With a depressed regional turboprop market predicted to number only 100 aircraft in China over the coming decade, to be shared with XAC's own 56/60-seat Y-7, ATR chief executive Antoine Bouvier says that setting up a Chinese ATR production line is several years away.

The first five ATR 72s sold in China are now in service with Xinjiang Airlines. Shaanxi Airlines, Changan Airlines and Air China are also understood to be interested in the aircraft. Changan has options on 13 Xian Y7-200As.

Source: Flight International