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New Generation of Passenger Aircraft Makes Successful Flight

A new-generation short haul passenger aircraft solely developed in China has completed a successful trial flight, paving the way for commercial production next year, the manufacturer announced on Friday.

The Xinzhou-600, developed by Xi'an Aircraft Industry Company (XAC) of the China Aviation Industry Corporation I (AVIC I), flew on Thursday in Xi'an, capital of northwest China's Shaanxi Province, said the AVIC I.

The turboprop aircraft was a new version of the Xinzhou-60 that can carry 50 to 60 passengers. The Xinzhou-600 had been updated with a more comfortable cabin and better designed body structure and maintenance system, said Geng Ruguang from the AVIC.

It was also designed for inter-island flights, which would helpit in the Southeast Asia and island nation markets, Geng said.

XAC took about three years to develop the Xinzhou-600, which would be delivered to clients from the second half of 2009, he said.

The company has orders for 136 Xinzhou-60s and has exported them to Zambia, the Republic of Congo, Laos, Zimbabwe and Bolivia since 2006.

This would give China the edge to compete in the global market for turboprop aircraft, where demand is expected to reach 1,900 in20 years.

Geng said the company had started to plan the development of the next generation aircraft, the Xinzhou-700.

(Xinhua News Agency October 12, 2008)

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