Xian Aircraft (XAC) has signed initial sales agreements with five domestic airlines for 11 Y-7-200A passenger aircraft, following recent Chinese airworthiness certification of the improved twin-turboprop development.

China's Changan Airlines, Guizhou Airlines, Sichuan Airlines, Swan Airlines, and Zhongyuan Airlines have each signed letters of intent to take two to three aircraft. No details have been given on the delivery schedule for the Y-7s, but the deals follow the Civil Aviation Administration of China's Part 25 type certification of the -200A.

The aircraft is a Westernised derivative of the 52-seat Y-7 turboprop, which is based originally on the Antonov An-24. The -200A, which has been under development since 1993, features a two-man cockpit equipped with Rockwell Collins/Suzhou EFIS 85/86 glass instrumentation and a 1m stretched fuselage, accommodating 56-60 passengers, depending on seat configuration.

XAC has replaced the Y-7's locally built Dongan WJ5A turboprop engines with the 2,051kW (2,750shp) Pratt & Whitney Canada PWC127C turboprop powerplant, driving a four-blade Hamilton Standard propeller. Other modifications include fitting an AlliedSignal auxiliary power unit and new, lighter, tyres, as well as a de-icing system.

The changes have resulted in 25% lower fuel consumption, an 800kg (1,762lb) increase in the aircraft's maximum payload - to 5,500kg - a 1,000kg reduction in the aircraft's empty weight and an increase in range to 1,600km (865nm) compared to the original Y-7's 800km.

XAC is marketing the aircraft as a domestic replacement for its original Y-7, of which only 67 have been built since 1986. The company is projecting local demand for up to 400 such aircraft over the next 20 years. Its export success, however, will hinge on getting US Federal Aviation Administration type approval, which has so far proved elusive.

Source: Flight International