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MCDONNELL PLANS NEW PLANE, WILL BUILD IT IN CHINA

McDonnell Douglas Corp. announced plans Monday to develop a new 105-seat commercial aircraft, designed to replace the aging DC-9, that would be assembled in China.

John Wolf, executive vice president of aircraft division based in St. Louis, Mo., said the new jet, called the MD-95, will cater to airlines needing 100- to 120-passenger planes for high-frequency routes.Wolf, who is attending the Paris Air Show, said McDonnell Douglas has signed a memoranda of understanding for the MD-95 with China National AeroTechnology Import-Export Corp., with the Pratt and Whitney division of United Technologies Corp. and with Northwest Airlines.

The agreement calls for the assembly of the MD-95 in China. McDonnell Douglas has co-produced its MD-82 airliners with China's Shanghai Aviation Industrial Corp. since the mid-1980s.

Preliminary design of the MD-95 is under way, and the aircraft could begin commercial service in 1995.

Pratt and Whitney has indicated it will make available a new version of its JT8D-200 series turbofan engines for the new aircraft. Wolf said McDonnell Douglas is also talking to other engine manufacturers.

Wolf said the memorandum of understanding with Northwest Airlines calls for the U.S. airline to evaluate the new aircraft.