Andrzej Jeziorski/BEIJING

The recently formed aerospace groups China Aviation Industry I (AVIC I) and China Aviation Industry II (AVIC II) are each developing upgraded versions of their dated turboprop transports to boost civil sales.

AVIC I manufacturing plant Xian Aircraft (XAC) is developing the latest improvement to its Y-7 regional turboprop (based on the Antonov An-24), which it is marketing as the MA 60. AVIC II is also proposing an upgraded version of its four-engined Shaanxi Aircraft (SAC) Y-8 medium-range cargo/passenger turboprop. The Y-8 is a development of the Antonov An-12B.

The 56/60-seat MA 60, the first prototype of which is under construction at XAC, is a development of the Y7-200A, which was fitted with Western engines, propellers and avionics.

"After several years of marketing activities [for the Y7-200A] we decided we need some improvements," says AVICI director-general of marketing and international co-operation Tang Xiaoping. The MA 60 has been fitted with two 2,050kW (2,750hp) Pratt & Whitney Canada PW127Js, integrated with four-blade Hamilton Standard 247F-3 propellers.

Other improvements include a Collins EFIS-85 electronic flight instrument system, an AlliedSignal GTCP-150CY auxiliary power unit and a new cabin interior.

The SAC Y-8 is being offered in an improved version, reducing the five-man crew configuration (pilot, co-pilot, navigator, engineer and radio operator) to a three-man crew. The first improved Y-8 is entering final assembly, and a second aircraft is in production.

The aircraft can carry 14 passengers in the pressurised forward portion of the cabin, with a 136.6m³ (4,815ft³) aft cargo hold. A contract for two of the improved aircraft is understood to have been signed with an undisclosed operator.

Tang says that discussions on a Chinese regional jet programme are continuing, although they have not moved beyond the market study phase. Two models have been proposed; the 58-seat NRJ58 and 76-seat NRJ76.

• The first of two Boeing MD-90-30Ts to be built in China under the defunct TrunkLiner programme flew for the first time on 4 October. The second aircraft is due to begin flight testing early next year. The aircraft have been allocated by the Civil Aviation Administration of China to Shenzhen Airlines.

Source: Flight International