Turboprop regional-airliner manufacturer Avions de Transport Régional (ATR) has announced a clutch of orders for its new ATR 72-600 and its existing ATR 72-500 turboprop models, both of which seat up to 70 passengers.
Top of Toulouse-based ATR’s order list on the second trade day of the Farnborough International Airshow 2010 was Brazilian carrier Azul Linhas Aéreas, which signed a contract at the show on July 20 for the purchase of 20 ATR 72-600s, plus options for 20 additional aircraft.
This makes Azul the first airline in Latin America to place an order for the ATR 72-600. The deal is also significant for Azul in that it marks the airline’s venture into a second major fleet type: The carrier already operates the Embraer 195 and Embraer 190, siblings in Embraer’s E-Jet family. Azul’s move into a second fleet type recalls founder David Neeleman’s decision when at his previous airline, JetBlue Airways, to add the Embraer 190 as a second fleet type at JetBlue after its successful launch with Airbus A320s.
ATR says the Azul deal is worth some $850 million, including options. Deliveries of the new aircraft will commence in late 2011. ATR notes it is already well-established in Brazil, where 37 of its aircraft are currently operated by three carriers. Today, ATR has 106 aircraft and 25 operators in Latin America.
The manufacturer’s second sizeable order at the Farnborough show is the purchase of 10 ATR 72-600s by new leasing company Air Lease Corporation (ALC), founded this year by former ILFC chairman and CEO Steven Udvar-Házy. ALC has also taken options on 10 additional ATR 72-600s. Before the announcement of its ATR deal, ALC had already taken the Farnborough show by storm by announcing orders for 51 Airbus A320-family aircraft and 54 Boeing 737-800s and signing a letter of intent for up to 20 Embraer 190s.
Deliveries of ALC’s ATR 727-600s are planned to begin in the fourth quarter of 2011.
Also at Farnborough, Swedish regional airline Golden Air – which is part of Erik Thun AB group, a company that includes aircraft leasing among its activities – announced it had signed for two new ATR 72-500 turboprops. Due for delivery in August and October 2010, the new aircraft will increase Golden Air’s ATR 72-500 fleet to five. The two new aircraft will fly in the colours of Blue1, a regional airline and SAS feeder based in Helsinki, Finland. They will complement an ATR 72-200 and two Saab 2000s also operated by Golden Air for Blue 1.
In 2008 Golden Air became the first airline in Sweden to operate an ATR 72-500 and its parent Erik Thun AB owns a fleet of nine ATR 72-200s (an earlier model of the ATR 72).
At Farnborough, too, Laos national carrier Lao Airlines announced an order for two new ATR 72-500s. Lao Airlines is a long-term ATR customer, having operated ATR 42s and ATR 72s since 1994. ATR will deliver the two new 70-seat ATR 72-500s to Lao Airlines by the end of 2010, completing the expansion and renewal of the carrier’s ATR fleet which it began last year. Its ATR fleet renewal will see Lao Airlines’ ATR fleet growing to four ATR 72-500s.
ATR also reveals it has received an order from an undisclosed customer for six ATR 72-500s and the company received an order from Syrian Airlines for two ATR 72-500s during the first half of 2010.
More good news for ATR comes from Danish regional aircraft leasing specialist Nordic Aviation Capital (NAC), which has signed a contract to buy seven 50-seat ATR 42s from the turboprop manufacturer’s portfolio. The aircraft are already all on lease from ATR to airlines. This marks the fourth such agreement between ATR and NAC in less than ten months. ATR says that privately owned NAC currently has 137 aircraft on lease to operators worldwide, 82 of which are ATR aircraft, making NAC the largest ATR lessor in the world.