Buried in the last paragraph of a short article inside the August 2022 issue of its official journal, Comac apparently confirmed that the MA700 regional turboprop of China’s Xian Aircraft Company has, in fact, flown. The fate of the prototype has been the subject of intense speculation, amid a geopolitical environment that had prevented its Canadian engines from being exported for the aircraft.
For the past year, The Air Current has been following clues of the aircraft’s fate, when social media chatter had suggested that the aircraft potentially took flight in late September 2021. There was little evidence beyond selected comments to confirm the aircraft had flown, but in November the prototype was photographed from orbit on the ramp at China’s ultra-secret Yanlian Air Base in Xian, where the country manufactures both commercial and military aircraft.
The deepening mystery is not only a technical and industrial one, but has significant geopolitical implications as Chinese leader Xi Jinping advances the company’s national aerospace priorities at the start of his unprecedented third term. China has invested heavily in commercial aerospace as it aims to become a provider of aircraft to itself, but had previously relied on greater cooperation from western suppliers for technology like avionics and engines.
Privacy & Cookies Policy
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.