The first two Xian Aircraft MA60 regional turboprop airliners have been delivered to Indonesian airline customer Merpati Nusantara, but delivery of the remaining 13 on order is still subject to financial negotiations between the Indonesian and Chinese governments.

The aircraft were ferried from China the Indonesian city of Medan last week.

Merpati says one MA60 will be based in Surabaya and be used for flights to the Flores island and Bali. The other will be based in the west Timor city of Kupang and be used for flights to the Flores islands and Alor island. These routes use to be served using Fokker F27 aircraft, but Merpati grounded this fleet in the first quarter of 2007.


Merpati plans to hold a ceremony in Surabaya on 10 September to celebrate delivery of the first to aircraft. The airline placed an order for 15 MA60s in June 2006, but it is unclear when the others will be delivered. Asked if any more MA60s will be delivered this year, a Merpati official could only reply “We hope so.”

Delivery will dependon the outcome of negotiations between the Indonesian and Chinese governments, says the official, referring to the fact Indonesia is borrowing money from China to finance the purchase. MA60s have a list price of $14m.

Xian has sold 96 MA60s so far. The 60-seat aircraft is a descendent of the Xian Y-7 regional turboprop, itself an evolution of the Russian Antonov An-24.

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Source: Flight Daily News