Latin American airline group AviancaTaca Holding has signed a firm order for 15 ATR 72-600 turboprops and has taken options on 15 more.
Toulouse-based manufacturer ATR values the deal for the regional airliners, including the options, at close to $700 million.
According to the manufacturer, AviancaTaca made its final choice after an exhaustive evaluation of all the competing alternatives. Deliveries of the firmly ordered aircraft will start in June 2013.
AviancaTaca is one of the largest and fastest-growing airline groups in Latin America. It operates a combined fleet of more than 150 aircraft, the second-largest fleet in Latin America after the LATAM group.
The AviancaTaca group serves more than 100 destinations in Latin America, US, Canada, Caribbean region and Europe, and has four major hubs: Bogota, San Salvador, Lima and San José de Costa Rica.
AviancaTaca will use its new ATR72-600 turboprops to replace the 50-seat Fokker 50 and ATR 42 aircraft that its two carriers – which are reportedly merging operationally under the Avianca name – now fly.
Bogota-based Avianca will fly the new ATR 72-600s to destinations in its Colombian domestic network such as Barrancabermeja, Florencia, Manizales, Neiva, Pasto, Popayán, Tumaco and Yopal.
San Salvador-based Taca will fly the aircraft to Guatemala City and Flores in Guatemala; Tegucigalpa, Roatán and San Pedro Sula in Honduras; San Salvador in El Salvador; Managua in Nicaragua; and San José and Liberia in Costa Rica.
“With the introduction of these new 72-seat ATR 72-600s, we re-emphasize our commitment to the connectivity within the regions in Colombia and Central America,” says Fabio Villegas Ramirez, chief executive officer of AviancaTaca. “The selected aircraft will enable us to increase our capacity in regional routes, further enhance our network and propose the highest standards of comfort to our passengers.”
ATR has some 150 aircraft currently flying in Latin American airlines’ liveries, plus some 50 additional aircraft to be delivered in the region. The manufacturer describes Latin America as being a very dynamic market for regional airliners, with strong untapped potential.