BEIJING, Jan. 21 (Xinhua) -- China's MA700 regional turboprop aircraft will highlight its performance in the short- and medium-haul market, with an aim to serve the country's booming air traffic demand, according to its developer Tuesday.
The MA700 aircraft will provide optimized solutions for airline operators in markets with various and complicated operating environments, said the state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC).
The MA700 project has entered the final assembly phase. Assembly work for both the maiden flight and static tests are underway.
The first MA700 aircraft is scheduled to roll off the production line in mid-2020, and the maiden flight is expected to take place within the year.
The 70-seat new turboprop aircraft model adopts an efficient aerodynamic design. It will be installed with the PW150C turboprop engine, integrated avionics system and fly-by-wire flight control system.
The efficient aerodynamic design and new propulsion system enable the MA700 to strike a balance between speed and efficiency, according to the AVIC.
The MA700 is the third member of China's domestically developed "Modern Ark" regional turboprop airplane family, which is developed by AVIC XAC Commercial Aircraft Co., Ltd. in Xi'an, northwest China's Shaanxi Province.
The "Modern Ark" family now has two members, the MA60 and MA600. To date, a total of 109 MA60 and MA600 airplanes have been delivered to customers.
As an upgraded version, the MA700 is designed to reach a maximum speed of 637 km per hour, a single-engine ceiling of 5,400 meters, and a take-off field length of 1,400 meters.
These design features make the MA700 more flexible and adaptable to complicated operating environments such the high temperatures, plateaus, airports with short runways and mountainous regions.
In November 2018, AVIC XAC and China Express Airlines signed a strategic cooperation agreement to jointly tap the market and carry out the demonstration operation of the MA700.
To date, the MA700 has received 285 intended orders from 11 customers at home and abroad, according to AVIC XAC.
The Modern Ark regional turboprop airplane series are part of China's commitment to boost its capacity in developing civil airplanes through major projects of the "two trunk and two regional" aircraft.
China is now the world's second-largest civil aviation market with sustained air traffic demand and an expanding market size.
The International Air Transport Association forecast that China is expected to become the world's largest market by the mid-2020s.