Singapore-based leasing company Avation PLC has ordered five more ATR 72-600 regional turboprops for Australia’s Skywest Airlines, which will operate the aircraft on a range of Australian domestic routes on behalf of Virgin Australia.
The additional five aircraft take to 13 the number of ATR 72s ordered by Avation PLC in 2011 for Skywest Airlines: four ATR 72-500s, which are already operating on Virgin Australia’s regional network; and nine new-generation ATR 72-600s, the first of which Skywest will receive next year.
This new contract for five ATR 72-600 aircraft also includes options for eight additional aircraft. ATR values the deal, including options, at more than US$295 million at list price.
Like the ATR 72-500s Skywest Airlines now operates for Virgin Australia, all of its ATR 72-600s will fly in Virgin Australia’s new white-and-red livery.
The five newly ordered ATR 72-600s are scheduled to be delivered from early 2013 through early 2014.
“We are delighted to have firmed up five additional aircraft and secured price protection on an additional eight aircraft over the next few years,” says Jeff Chatfield, chairman of Avation PLC. “This new agreement provides a potential delivery stream of aircraft for the next four years. Avation PLC has entered discussions with respect to financing the acquisition costs of these aircraft.”
“The first four ATR 72-500s are now operating successfully on Virgin routes in eastern Australia, and are fast gaining popularity with both the airline and its passengers,” says Filippo Bagnato, chief executive officer of ATR.
“It is a great endorsement of the ATR 72 that after just one month of operating in Australia, Skywest and Virgin have decided to add more aircraft” adds Bagnato. “These aircraft are the right size for the routes they fly, and offer the best fuel economy of any comparable aircraft in the 70-seat range, making them ideal for Virgin.”