China’s Okay Airways has put into service its first Modern Ark (MA) 60, also known as the Xinzhou-60.The twin-engine turboprop, made by China’s Xian Aircraft Industry Corp. (XAIC) is an advanced version of the Yun-7, which took wing in 1982 and is being phased out. The airplane’s commercial debut with Okay marks the end of foreign-made airplanes’ monopoly in China’s regional jet market.
Republic of China
The Sino Swearingen SJ30-2 light business jet is appearing in public for the first time since Dubai investors agreed to pump at least $150 million into the company.
Investors from the United Arab Emirates are trying to purchase a majority share of financially troubled would-be jet manufacturer Sino Swearingen Aircraft, according to a news report published by Taiwan’s Central News Agency. However, the buyout plan might be subject to Taiwanese government approval following a planned presentation
It appeared that organizers took special care to avoid a political faux pas with mainland China yesterday, exerting direct control over at least one company’s exhibit.
Mainland China is increasing the pressure on Taiwan’s air defenses. Modernized with more than 250 J-11 fighters (Russian or license-built Sukhoi Su-27/30) and 50 Chinese-designed J-10 interceptors, the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) is flying combat air patrols up to the middle of the Taiwan Straits. This has been the unofficial dividing line between China and Taiwan for more than 50 years.
After a visit to China last month, the commander of U.S. military forces in the Pacific, Admiral Timothy Keating, suggested that Beijing’s growing military might was aimed specifically at Taiwan. China has threatened to invade Taiwan if it should declare independence. Ahead of Taiwanese presidential elections and a controversial referendum, political tension across the 90-mile Taiwan Straits that divide the two territories remains high.
Al Pod, former president and CEO of NetJets subsidiary Executive Jet Management, has been named to conduct an examination of potential opportunities for NetJets fractional-share operations in China. “We have looked at China in the past,” NetJets president Jim Christiansen said, “and until now we had felt that we weren’t ready or perhaps China wasn’t ready.” Pod is being tapped to lead the six-month study.
The Republic of China Air Force (ROCAF) of Taiwan recently displayed during public days at several ROCAF bases a new configuration of its Indigenous Defense Fighter (IDF), with three 250-pound bombs on the centreline. Taiwan wants to upgrade the ROCAF to meet a growing military threat from mainland China, but progress has been slow.
The UK government is leading a diplomatic effort to craft an international Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), but has reassured the defense industry that “responsible” exports will not be limited by the proposed worldwide pact. John Duncan, the British Ambassador for Multilateral Arms Control, met industrialists at a defense exhibition in London last week.
Despite recent news reports suggesting that Sino Swearingen’s Taiwan-government-backed investors are considering exiting the program, “Taiwan continues to support our program,” Mark Fairchild, vice president for marketing and sales, told AIN, “and at the same time is looking for additional investors to help increase our production rate.” The second delivery of a Sino Swearingen SJ30 was imminent as this issue went to press.