China’s Avic officially launched the MA700 turboprop program last Thursday in Beijing, according to the Chinese state-run press service The People’s Daily. Expected to enter service in 2019, the 80-seat MA700 joins the C919 and ARJ21 as a member of China’s trio of new-generation indigenous airplane projects.
Positioned to serve medium-sized markets and operate most efficiently on routes of some 430 nm, the MA700 promises good performance in hot-and-high operating environments as well as short and frequent takeoffs and landings, according to Avic. It will also burn less fuel and require fewer maintenance checks than its predecessors, the MA60 and MA600, the company claims. Powered by a pair of Pratt & Whitney Canada PW127s, the MA700 would cruise at a top speed exceeding 325 knots and climb to cruise altitude in 13 minutes. The design features fly-by-wire flight controls, a Rockwell Collins “glass” cockpit, an “optimized” passenger door, wider seats and more spacious overhead bins.
Avic’s aspirations for the MA700 include FAA and EASA certification, allowing it to market the airplane to Western customers as well as to the MA600’s installed base.