A new airworthiness directive issued by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has resulted in the grounding of 15 Xi’an MA-60 turboprops following two incidences of landing gear failure. The directive requires operators inspect the undercarriages and gear annunciation systems of airplanes that have logged more than 6,400 takeoffs. Two Chinese airlines–Okay Airways and Joy Air–and carriers from the Philippines, Laos, Zimbabwe and Bolivia operate the 15 airplanes.
China’s Tianjin Airport has reported exponential growth in its corporate aviation business, which increased by 30 percent between 2010 and 2011. In recent years, the city has seen rapid economic development, which has led to the rise of business aviation movements and related enterprises. The number of private aviation movements at the airport has risen by 131 percent since 2008, from 10 to 15 per month to around 35 per month in 2010.
China’s Okay Airways has put into service its first Modern Ark (MA) 60, also known as the Xinzhou-60.The twin-engine turboprop, made by China’s Xian Aircraft Industry Corp. (XAIC) is an advanced version of the Yun-7, which took wing in 1982 and is being phased out. The airplane’s commercial debut with Okay marks the end of foreign-made airplanes’ monopoly in China’s regional jet market.
China’s Xi’an Aircraft Company (XAC) landed the largest-ever order from a Chinese airline for its MA60 regional turboprop last month. Privately held Okay Airways said it has agreed to lease 10 of the 60-seat turboprops, the first of which it plans to deploy by the end of the year. It expects to take delivery of the rest within two years, it added.
Swiss-based independent maintenance organization SR Technics and Okay Airways, China’s first privately owned airline, have agreed to form a maintenance joint venture in Tianjin, China. The new facility will provide aircraft services, fleet technical management and component support for Boeing and Airbus aircraft operated by both existing airlines and new start-ups.
The official statistics confirm what the aerospace industry has long anticipated: China’s air transport market is booming. The 2005 annual report of the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) is yet to be published but all the indications are that the growth targets set for last year in the 2004 report were met.
SR Technics (Stand A726) is moving to establish a presence on the Chinese mainland. In recent months the company has signed a memorandum of understanding with Okay Airways to form a maintenance joint venture at Tianjin, concluded a joint venture agreement with the Shanghai Foreign Aviation Service Corp. (Shanghai FASCO) and established an Asia/Pacific advisory board (APAB).