Air Transport World

E pluribus unum. (European aircraft manufacturers join forces to develop a new family of short-haul aircraft)

It's said that the best way to make a good stew is to simply start with a lot of good ingredients, throw them in a pot, stir them around a bit, then heat them up. That also seems to be the way a new European airliner gets built.

Back in 1988, Deutsche Airbus GmbH of Germany and CATIC of China got together and started pondering a new airliner family, aimed at the short-haul market. The pre-development phase was begun on Jan. 1, 1989 and the aircraft was named the MPC 75. it was to be a series of two, with the -100 being a 90-seater and the -200 a 110-120-seater. It would be produced by a company called MPC Aircraft GmbH and Deutsche Airbus would own 80% while CATIC would own 20%. First flight was scheduled for late 1994.

The first MPC 75 produced would be the -100. it would have fly-by-wire technology, with a standard range of 1,600 nm and a long-range version going 2,600 nm.

Meanwhile, Aerospatiale, Aeritalia and CASA were looking at a similar family of two aircraft, to be called the AAC 90/120. The 90 and 120 represented the number of passengers that each version would carry, respectively. However, as the requirements for the AAC 90/120 started to look more and more like the MPC 75, it caused the partners to consider the possibility-and wisdom-of a merger of the two aircraft types. …

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