Air Tahiti has taken delivery of its first ATR 42-600 as part of the modernization of its fleet.
The aircraft represents the first ATR 600-Series turboprop delivered to Air Tahiti from its firm orders for three ATR 42-600 aircraft and four ATR 72-600s, which Air Tahiti ordered in two separate deals in August 2010 and December 2012.
This aircraft will be the first ATR 600-Series regional airliner to go into service in any of the French overseas departments. ATR will deliver the other six aircraft to Air Tahiti over the next three years.
Air Tahiti will gradually introduce the new aircraft into service on regional routes in French Polynesia and will also use them to operate an international connection between Papeete and Rarotonga International Airport in the Cook Islands.
The airline’s first ATR 42-600 can accommodate up to 48 passengers. Its ‘Armonia’ cabin has been designed to offer comfortable seats for passengers, optimized space, LED atmospheric lighting and larger luggage compartments.
Like all the ATR aircraft operated by Air Tahiti, the ATR-600 is capable of adapting to short, narrow or unpaved runways, allowing the airline to fly to a large number of destinations.
ATR regional airliners are currently the only turboprop aircraft to have obtained ETOPS 120 certification (authorization to fly over seas and oceans for 120 minutes in the event of an engine failure), making them suitable for Air Tahiti’s operation throughout the far-flung islands of French Polynesia.
“With the arrival of these new ATR aircraft, our passengers will be able to benefit from the exceptional comfort of an ultra-modern cabin, which is an essential criterion for our quality of service and customer satisfaction,” says Maté Galénon, managing director of Air Tahiti.
“We have been preparing for the arrival of our new ATR-600s for more than a year,” adds Galénon. “Our flight crews, engineers have already been trained and are ready to operate these new aircraft. Polynesia is looking forward to flying in the brand new ATRs.”
The ATR 42-600 has a passenger capacity of 46 to 50 seats. It is powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PW127M turboprop engines, each providing 2,160 shaft horsepwer at maximum take-off power.
Maximum take-off weight of the ATR 42-600 is 18,600 kilograms (41,006lb) and its maximum payload is 5,500 kilograms (12,125lb). The ATR 42-600 has a range with full payload of 800 nautical miles (1,300 kilometers).
Air Tahiti is the state-run air transport operator in French Polynesia and is based at Papeete’s Fa’a’ā International Airport (IATA code PPT). The company is a key driving force behind the development of the economy and the social links of the region, according to ATR.
The airline was officially founded in 1986 and the first ATR aircraft joined Air Tahiti’s fleet in January 1987, replacing Fokker F-27s. Air Tahiti then progressively extended its network to include a larger number of islands.
Today, Air Tahiti’s fleet of ATR turboprops includes three ATR 42-500s and seven ATR 72-500s, as well as one Beechcraft King Air B200 and one de Havilland Canada Twin Otter. The carrier services almost 90 per cent of the islands of French Polynesia.