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MA600 rolls off line in Xi'an on Sunday
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China Aviation Industry Corporation I (AVIC I) launches its newly developed regional aircraft MA600 on its own technologies in Xi'an city of Shaanxi Province on Sunday, June 29, 2008. This photo is taken on Saturday, June 28, 2008. [Photo: people.com.cn]

The MA600, a new regional aircraft to join China's turboprop fleet, rolled off the assembly line in Xi'an on Sunday.

This latest MA "Modern Ark" member could be the stepping stone to China gaining a larger share of the world's turboprop aircraft market, insiders said.

Engineers have optimized the aircraft's structure and its aviation electronics system, improved the interior decoration, and added maritime survival functions for island countries.

The total weight of the MA600 is 300 kg less than the MA60, further reducing the aircraft's fuel consumption.

The MA600 is set to begin trials in September, He Shengqiang, chief engineer and vice-president of Xi'an Aircraft Industry Company Ltd under AVIC I, said in an earlier report.

Currently, the China Aviation Industry Corporation I (AVIC I) provided the 50- to 60-seat MA60, the first and only model of the MA series on sale for the African and East Asian countries, receiving 122 orders since 2005.

To remain competitive in the years after 2018, AVIC I has already started work on the development of the MA700, an aircraft mainly targeted at markets in Europe and America, Chen Fusheng, deputy director general of the commercial aircraft department of AVIC I, said.

AVIC I has drawn up an ambitious blueprint for its MA series, which will be comparable to the Canadian Bombardier and the French ATR aircraft.

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