Xian Aircraft Company (Xi'an Yanliang) is facing a potentially insurmountable obstacle with the development of its new clean-sheet turboprop variant, the MA-700, after the Canadian government withheld an export licence for the Pratt & Whitney Canada PW150C powerplant, Flightglobal has reported.

The engine manufacturer has confirmed that the export licence, for which it had applied in 2018, was denied in 2020. However, it clarified that the Chinese manufacturer had not yet cancelled the contract to supply the new type of engines.

The PW150C is the most powerful engine the PW100-150 family. It is a higher thrust variant of the PW150A, which powers the DHC-8-Q400. Pratt & Whitney signed a contract with AVIC, the state-owned holding that owns Xian Aircraft Company, to exclusively supply the engines for the MA-700 back in 2017. The development of the type was built mainly around the new powerplant, which was supposed to ensure an extended range, higher speed, and improved operating capabilities in terms of serving airports located at high altitudes. The PW150C is not currently produced for any other aircraft type.

In December 2020, Xian Aircraft Company was designated as a military end-user by the US Department of Commerce. While the move did not automatically amount to a blanket ban of any exports to the company, it forces potential sellers to undergo more rigorous scrutiny to ensure the export does not harm US national security interests.

Pratt & Whitney Canada already supplies the PW127J engines for Xian MA-60s and PT6 engines for Y12s.