Ukraine’s Antonov has signed a memorandum of understanding with Xi’an Aircraft (XAC) to help develop a new 70-seat turboprop dubbed the MA700, the Ukrainian airframe maker confirmed last month. Antonov deputy head of marketing Andrii Sovenko told AIN the agreement involves a risk-sharing partnership, details of which the companies planned to discuss during the September 19 to 22 Beijing International Aviation Exhibition.
Now engaged in serial production of the 50-seat MA60 turboprop and wings and fuselage sections of the new ARJ21 regional jet, AVIC I subsidiary XAC plans to pursue EASA and FAA certification for the proposed 70-seater. Xi’an Aircraft International–55 percent owned by XAC–would finance the project through share offerings on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange.
A so-called “clean-sheet” proposal, the MA700 would likely bear little resemblance to the MA60–itself a descendant of the Soviet-era An-24 re-engined with Pratt & Whitney Canada PW127J turboprops. Since then, Antonov has developed and marketed the 50-seat An-140 turboprop, 11 of which now fly for six different airlines in Ukraine, Russia and Iran.