Xian MA60

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Air Zimbabwe Xian MA60 Smith-1.jpg
Air Zimbabwe MA60 at OR Tambo International Airport in 2007
Role Turboprop airliner
Manufacturer Xi'an Aircraft Industrial Corporation
First flight 25 February 2000[1]
Introduction August 2000 with Sichuan Airlines[2]
Status In production
Primary users Merpati Nusantara Airlines
Okay Airways
Joy Air
Produced 2000–present
Number built 80 delivered + 210 ordered (March 2013)[3]
Unit cost
US$11-12 million[4]
Developed from Xian Y-7
Variants Xian MA600
Xian MA700

The Xian MA60 (新舟60, Xīnzhōu 60, "Modern Ark 60") is a turboprop-powered airliner produced by China's Xi'an Aircraft Industrial Corporation under the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC). The MA60 is a stretched version of the Xian Y7-200A,[5] which was produced based on the An-24 to operate in rugged conditions with limited ground support and has short take-off and landing (STOL) capability.[6]

The 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 USA.[7][8] The general designer of MA-60 series is Mr. Lü Hai (吕海).

As of October 2006, XAC has received over 90 MA60 orders. The factory had delivered 23 MA60s by the end of 2006, and expects to deliver an additional 165 by the end of 2016.[9]


  • Xian MA60-100: Reduced weight improved performance.[10]
  • Xian MA60-MPA Fearless Albatross: Maritime patrol and ASW variant offered for sale at Airshow China 2002.[10]
  • Xian MA40: Reduced capacity 40 seat variant offered for sale in 2002.[10]
  • Xian MA60H-500: A military cargo version of the MA-60, with rear cargo ramp.[10]
  • Xian MA600: A much improved MA60, the prototype of which was completed on 29 June 2008.[10]


Current operators[edit]

In March 2014, 53 MA60 are in service and 14 are stored:[11][12]

Lao Airlines Xian MA60 at Pakse Airport in 2009.
Zest Airways MA60 at Marinduque Airport, Philippines
Model of a MA60 in Joy Air livery
Xian MA60 in the Djibouti Air Force
Afghanistan Afghanistan
Bolivia Bolivia
Burundi Burundi
Cambodia Cambodia
Cameroon Cameroon
China China
Democratic Republic of the Congo Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • LAC – 6 on order
Djibouti Djibouti
Eritrea Eritrea
Indonesia Indonesia
Kyrgyzstan Kyrgyzstan
Laos Laos
Myanmar Myanmar
  • Myanma Airways – 2 crashed and 1 cargo (XY-AIO, XY-AIP and XY-AIQ )
Nepal Nepal
Peru Peru
Philippines Philippines
  • Zest Airways – 4 retired and returned to its lessor in China, 1 written off after an accident.
  • ClarkAir – 7 on order
Republic of the Congo Republic of the Congo
  • Air Congo Int'l – 4 in service
Sri Lanka Sri Lanka
Tajikistan Tajikistan
Tonga Tonga
  • Real Tonga – 1 in service (suspended as of 8 February 2015) [17]
Ukraine Ukraine
  • Mars RK – 3 on order. On 23 May 2012 Xi'an Aircraft International Corporation (XAIC) and Mars RK agreed on terms for an order for three MA60 aircraft. This is the first European airline to purchase the MA60.[18]
Yemen Yemen
Zambia Zambia
Zimbabwe Zimbabwe
  • Air Zimbabwe – 2 in service, 1 crashed on 3 November 2009,

Customer summary[edit]

Airlines In service Orders Total
East Horizon 1 1
TAM - Transporte Aéreo Militar 2 2 4
Air Burundi 1 1 2
Royal Cambodian Air Force 2 2
Cambodia Bayon Airlines 1 19 20
Camair-Co 3 3
LAC 6 6
Djibouti Armed Forces 1 1 2
Massawa Airways 1 1
Kyrgyzstan Airlines 3 3
Merpati Nusantara Airlines 14 14
Lao Airlines 4 4
Lao People's Liberation Army Air Force 4 4
Lao Skyway 1 1 2
Myanma Airways 3 3
Nepal Airlines 1 1 2
Civil Aviation Flight University of China 2 2
China United Airlines 1+1 stored 2
Okay Airways 13 17 30
Joy Air 9 21 30
Sichuan Airlines 2 stored 2
Wuhan Airlines 3 stored 3
YingAn Airlines 1 9 10
CDS Regional Express 4 4
Zest Airways 4 retired 4
Air Congo Int'l 4 4
Sri Lanka Air Force (Helitours) 2 2
Tajik Air 1 1
Real Tonga 1 Grounded 1
Mars RK 3 3
Felix Airways 6 6
Zambian Air Force 2 2
Air Zimbabwe 2 2

Accidents and incidents[edit]

As of May 11, 2015, there have been 13 accidents involving the MA60. One accident was fatal (MZ8968) resulting in 21 passenger and 4 crew deaths.[19] This caused for instance New Zealand to go as far as suspending tourism aid to Tonga and warned tourists about flying the aircraft which had been gifted to the country.[20]

  • On 11 January 2009, a MA60 operated by Philippine carrier Zest Airways crashed at Caticlan Airport when it landed too short on the runway, skidded out of control and crashed into a concrete barrier. The aircraft caught fire and suffered extensive damage to its wing, landing gear, undercarriage and one engine. Several passengers were injured.[21]
  • In June 2009, a MA60 operated by Zest overshot the runway while trying to land at Caticlan airport. As a consequence of this accident lengthening of the runway and the flattening of a hill that obstructs one of its approaches was carried out.[22]
  • On 7 May 2011 Merpati Nusantara Airlines Flight 8968 (with Indonesian registration PK-MZK) went into sea only 500 metres from the runway[23] in bad weather with poor visibility on visual approach to Kaimana Airport, Kaimana, West Papua in Indonesia. It had left Sorong Airport with 21 passengers and 6 crew members on board.[24] All passengers and crew were killed, making this the first reported fatal accident for the Xian MA60. On 24 August 2011 Indonesia’s Transportation Minister determined human error was to blame for Merpati Airline Disaster.[25]
  • On 9 January 2012 a TAM flight from Riberalta Airport to Guayaramerín Airport, Bolivia operated by FAB-96 landed with the undercarriage not deployed due to a fault, resulting in substantial damage to the aircraft. There were no injuries amongst the five crew and sixteen passengers.[26]
  • On 16 May 2013 a Myanma Airways flight from Heho Airport to Monghsat Airport in Burma, overran the runway on landing, resulting in two serious injuries and substantial damage to the aircraft. The MA60 allegedly suffered a brakes failure.[27]
  • On 10 June 2013 Merpati Nusantara Airlines flight MZ6517 (with Indonesian registration PK-MZO) from Bajawa to Kupang, with 50 people on-board landed hard at Kupang airport in East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia. Two passengers were injured. The plane, which has been damaged beyond repair, lay on its belly on the runway with its engines jammed face down into the tarmac and its wings bent forward which one would expect after such a hard landing.[28] Indonesian National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC) has released preliminary report on this accident. The preliminary report consists of factual information collected until the preliminary report published without analysis and conclusion.[29]
  • On 10 June 2013 Myanma Airways flight UB309 from Mawlamyine, Myanmar carrying four crew members and 60 passengers swerved off the runway upon landing at Kawthaung. The plane came to a stop in bushes about 200 feet to the west of the runway, with smoke coming from the left side propeller housing and the propellers on both wings damaged. There were no injuries. It is possible the captain was too early in switching the nosewheel steering to the 'taxi' mode during the landing roll and lost directional control. A similar incident occurred in December 2011.[30]
  • On 4 February 2014 Joy Air flight JR1533 from Taiyuan, China carrying 7 crew members and 37 passengers, had a mechanical failure on the landing gear while landing at Zhengzhou. This caused landing gear to break and the aircraft's nose cone to hit the tarmac. There were no injuries.[31]
  • On 10 May 2015, Joy Air flight JR1529 from Yiwu to Fuzhou with 45 passengers and 7 crew, landed on Fuzhou runway 03 at about 11:57L (03:57Z) but veered right off the runway and came to a stop right off the runway edge about 500 meters past the runway threshold and about 50 meters off the runway centerline with all gear on soft ground. The engines made ground contact causing the wings to be nearly torn off and substantial damage to the fuselage and structure. 7 occupants received injuries in the accident.[32]

Operational problems[edit]

The New Zealand Government suspended its programme of development aid to Tonga's tourism industry in July 2013 after a MA60 donated by the Chinese Government was delivered to the airline Real Tonga.[33] In August 2013 the New Zealand Government also issued a statement advising tourists to not travel on Real Tonga's MA60 on the grounds that "this aircraft has been involved in a significant number of accidents in the last few years", and the type "is not certified to fly in New Zealand or other comparable jurisdictions".[34][35] Real Tonga ceased operating the MA60 in early 2015 after the Tongan Government passed legislation adopting New Zealand's civil aviation regulations.[36] A proposal to re-establish Royal Tongan Airlines to operate the MA60 was reported later in the year.[37]

Specifications (MA60)[edit]

Data from Jane's All The World's Aircraft 2003–2004[38]

General characteristics


See also[edit]

Related development
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
Related lists


  1. ^ 国产MA60(新舟60)飞机介绍,搜狐军事频道,16 August 2009
  2. ^ MA60
  3. ^ Domestic-Made Regional Jet ARJ21 to Be Delivered in 2014
  4. ^ "Procurement questions clip Merpati’s wings". thejakartapost.com. Retrieved July 3, 2015. 
  5. ^ "MA60 is derived from Y7-200A by the application of better performance engine, state-of-the-art avionics package and new maintenance methodology."[dead link]
  6. ^ Up close and personal with the Xi’an MA60 | The Jakarta Post
  7. ^ "Tonga travel advice - GOV.UK". www.gov.uk. Retrieved July 3, 2015. 
  8. ^ "Quality of Chinese-made plane questioned after crash". The Jakarta Post. 9 May 2011. 
  9. ^ Aviation Week & Space Technology, 29 October 2007 issue, p. 66, Commercial Transport Update
  10. ^ a b c d e Komissarov & Gordon. “Chinese Aircraft”. Hikoki Publications. Manchester. 2008. ISBN 978-1-902109-04-6
  11. ^ "AeroTransport Data Bank". Aerotransport.org. 
  12. ^ [1][dead link]
  13. ^ "Our Fleet". East Horizon Airlines. Retrieved July 3, 2015. 
  14. ^ Cantle, Katie (12 August 2010). "Okay Airways continues fleet expansion". ATWOnline. 
  15. ^ [2] My Republica, Government to sign agreement with China for aircraft procurement. Retrieved Nov 28, 2013
  16. ^ Sri Lanka Air Force takes delivery of MA 60 aircraft Ministry of Defence, Sri Lanka, 2011-10-01
  17. ^ http://realtonga.to/?p=1049
  18. ^ MA60 aircraft by Chinese Xi'an Aircraft finds its first European buyer AirForceWorld.com 2012-05-23
  19. ^ Chong, Aaron. "Joy MA60 accident likely to be type's fifth hull loss". Flightglobal. Retrieved 11 June 2015. 
  20. ^ Thompson, Chuck. "'Unsafe' Chinese airplane hurting Tonga tourism". CNN. Retrieved 11 June 2015. 
  21. ^ "PICTURE: Zest MA60 crashes on landing in Philippines". Flight International. 12 January 2009. 
  22. ^ "Philippines' Zest MA60 overshoots runway at Caticlan". Flight International. 25 June 2009. 
  23. ^ "Three bodies from crashed Merpati plane burried [sic] in Papua". Antara News. Retrieved 9 May 2011. 
  24. ^ "Indonesia: 'No survivors' after plane crashes off Papua". BBC News. 7 May 2011. 
  25. ^ "Government Says Human Error to Blame for Merpati Airline Disaster". The Jakarta Globe. Retrieved July 3, 2015. 
  26. ^ Hradecky, Simon (January 9, 2012). "Accident: TAM Bolivia MA60 at Guayaramerin on Jan 9th 2012, gear up landing". The Aviation Herald. Retrieved 10 January 2012. 
  27. ^ Hradecky, Simon (16 May 2013). "Accident: Myanma MA60 at Monghsat on May 16th 2013, runway excursion". The Aviation Herald. Retrieved 17 May 2013. 
  28. ^ Hradecky, Simon (10 June 2013). "Accident: Merpati MA60 at Kupang on Jun 10th 2013, landed short of runway and broke up". The Aviation Herald. Retrieved 11 June 2013. 
  29. ^ "Aircraft Accident Investigation Report (Preliminary) Merpati Nusantara Airlines Xi'An Aircraft Industry MA60; PK-MZO El Tari Airport, Kupang Republic of Indonesia, 10 June 2013" (PDF). National Transportation Safety Committee. 9 July 2013. Retrieved 10 Jan 2014. 
  30. ^ Hradecky, Simon (10 June 2013). "Incident: Myanma MA60 at Kawthaung on Jun 10th 2013, runway excursion". The Aviation Herald. Retrieved 11 June 2013. 
  31. ^ "新鄭機場飛機降落墜地". 
  32. ^ Hradecky, Simon (10 May 2015). "Accident: Joy MA60 at Fuzhou on May 10th 2015, runway excursion on landing". The Aviation Herald. Retrieved 10 May 2015. 
  33. ^ Arrow, Brendan (10 July 2013). "Tonga loses NZ aid over use of suspect Chinese aircraft". ABC News. Retrieved 10 August 2013. 
  34. ^ Schwartz, Dominique (10 August 2013). "New Zealand issues traveller warning over Tonga's MA60 plane safety". ABC News. Retrieved 10 August 2013. 
  35. ^ "Tonga". Safe Travel. Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Retrieved 10 August 2013. 
  36. ^ "Notorious Tongan plane at centre of NZ travel warning grounded". TVNZ. 10 February 2015. Retrieved 17 August 2015. 
  37. ^ "MA60 threat to Tonga's sole domestic carrier". Radio New Zealand International. 12 June 2015. Retrieved 17 August 2015. 
  38. ^ Jackson 2003, p. 95.
  • Jackson, Paul. Jane's All The World's Aircraft 2003–2004. Coulsdon, UK: Jane's Information Group, 2003. ISBN 0-7106-2537-5.

External links[edit]