Ecuador’s national flag carrier TAME has signed a contract to order three new ATR 42-500 regional turboprop airliners, in a deal which ATR values...

Ecuador’s national flag carrier TAME has signed a contract to order three new ATR 42-500 regional turboprop airliners, in a deal which ATR values at $54 million.

This is the first time that European turboprop manufacturer ATR has concluded an aircraft sale with an Ecuadorian airline.

ATR says the deal, announced at the Paris Airshow on June 22, also reinforces the growing presence of ATR in Latin America and the Caribbean. Some 120 ATR turboprops are already in operation in the region, and an addition 40-plus have been ordered by Latin American and Caribbean operators, according to the manufacturer.

With the entry into service of its new 50-seat ATR 42-500s from September, Ecuador’s flag carrier TAME will develop “public service routes” in order to bring air connectivity to several remote regions through the mountainous country. The new ATRs will also help to feed main national airports at Quito and Guayaquil, according to ATR.

Ecuadorian state carrier TAME announced an order for three ATR 42-500 turboprops at the Paris Airshow on June 22, 2011. The deal was European regional turboprop manufacturer ATR's first sale to an airline in Ecuador

The manufacturer says the ATR 42-500 is optimally suited for Ecuador’s airports and operational characteristics, which include hot-and-high environments and short runways.

“The purchase of these new ATRs is part of a double goal,” says General Gustavo Cuesta, chief executive officer of TAME. “On the one hand, we are renewing our fleet with brand new aircraft featuring the best eco-efficiency and proven performance in altitude, hot environments, small airfields and short runways. On the other hand, as a public carrier, we aim to expand our national network, and bring air services to remote areas with convenient access to main towns. Our new ATRs will allow us to develop services where the only alternative today can be more than 10 hours of driving.”

Filippo Bagnato, chief executive officer of ATR, remarks: “This new contract demonstrates there is a steady market for 50-seat regional aircraft. Today ATR is the only manufacturer that can propose a solution for this market. It also confirms the strong dynamism of Latin America, where regional networks are being substantially developed and where we are recently experiencing very good commercial success. The introduction of these new turboprops will bring to passengers new standards of comfort, while helping the national carrier to optimize its operating and maintenance costs.”

The ATR 42-500 seats 50 passengers in single-class configuration. It is powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PW127M turboprop engines, each generating 2,400 shaft horse power of maximum take-off power. The ATR 42-500’s maximum weight at take-off is 18,600kg (40,920lb) and its maximum payload is 5,500kg (12.100lb). The aircraft’s maximum range with a full passenger load is 801 nautical miles (1,483 kilometers).

Ecuador’s state-owned and military-operated national airline, TAME was founded in 1962. It controls more than 46 per cent of the Ecuadorian domestic air transport market.

As a state-owned company, TAME’s charter calls for it  to provide air service between Ecuador’s main cities and remote destinations where competitors don’t fly. TAME operates to 15 destinations in Ecuador. It is also expanding its operations beyond the country’s boundaries and plans to fly to United States and Europe in the near future.

Throughout its history to date, TAME has accumulated more than 375,000 flying hours and has carried nearly 38 million passengers. For more information on the airline, visit