The Aviation Industries Corporation of China (AVIC) delivered two MA600 ‘Xinzhou’ turboprop passenger aircraft to the African country of Malawi on July 18.
Taking off from Kunming Changshui International Airport, the aircraft flew more than 10,000km and landed in Malawi after flying through 13 countries. The flight lasted for 5 days and 4 nights, with a total of 29 hours and a total range of 11,717km, AVIC said in a statement.
MA600 aircraft is an improved version of the MA60 twin-engine turboprop. The aircraft is equipped with new avionics, improved passenger cabin and engines with increased thrust compared to MA60. The latter aircraft was beset with a number of problems while in service with Nepal Airlines.
"At 14:57 and 15:12, Malawi time on July 16, two "Xinzhou" 600 aircraft successfully landed at Blantyre International Airport in Malawi," the AVIC statement said adding, "at 10:30 a.m. local time on July 18, the delivery ceremony of the "New Boat" 600 aircraft was held at Malawi Blantyr Chilika International Airport."
Malawi government officials, officials of the Chinese Embassy in Malawi, aviation industry service groups and other units attended the aircraft delivery ceremony.
"The aviation industry has made new progress in practicing the "Belt and Road" initiative and serving the national economy and people's livelihood in Africa through Chinese civil aircraft," the statement said.
The MA600 shares its dimensions, seating and cargo capacity with the MA60 which is is a stretched version of the Xian Y7-200A, a clone of the Soviet-era An-24 designed to operate in rugged conditions with limited ground support and short runways.
The MA600 however is equipped with Pratt & Whitney Canada PW127J turboprop engines.
The MA designation stands for "Modern Arc," a hark back to Noah's Arc signifiying its fly anywhere, land and take off from any improvised runway character.
The earlier version, MA60 was beset with a number of problems while in service with Nepal Airlines which permenantly grounded two MA60 aircraft in 2020.
The MA60 airplane received its type certificate from the Civil Aviation Administration of China in June 2000. The MA60 has not applied for FAA (US) and EASA (Europe) type certification, and is not certified for use in the European Union or the US. It is not known if the latest iteration, the MA600 has received international certifications.