The Chinese-made regional jet, Modem Ark (MA) 60 was launched for the maiden domestic commercial flight in the northern port city of Tianjin on Sunday.
Carried by Okair Airlines, the flight marked the start of the domestic commercial operation of MA 60, said Xu Chaoquan, senior official with the General Administration of Aviation. It also marks the breaking of the foreign-made airplane's monopoly in China.
Produced by the Xi'an Aircraft Industry Company (XAC), a major Chinese aircraft producer, MA 60 is designed for short and medium-range commuter services. China owns the independent Intellectual Property Rights.
Due to its low operational and maintenance costs, MA 60 has been sold quite well in Africa and south east Asia since 2005.
To meet the rising domestic demand for regional jets, the Beijing-based Okair Airlines and the Kunming-based Ying An Airlines gave XAC orders for 10 and 60 MA 60 planes respectively last year.
So far XAC has received orders and intention contracts for 136 MA 60 planes from the clients at home and abroad.
China is expected to need 800 regional jets in the following 20 years. XAC said it would enhance the MA 60 output while promoting MA 600 in the market and accelerating the development of MA 700 so as to foster the regional jet brand of MA series.
(Xinhua News Agency October 20, 2008)