Turboprop regional-aircraft manufacturer ATR has delivered the first two ATR 72-600s, celebrating the deliveries to Royal Air Maroc at ATR’s Toulouse final assembly line with a delegation from the airline.
Royal Air Maroc will be the first operator of the new ATR “-600” series. ATR says the 70-seat ATR 72-600s will allow the Moroccan national carrier to reinforce its domestic network and its short-haul international network.
In 2009 Royal Air Maroc ordered four ATR 72-600s and two ATR 42-600s, in a deal which ATR values at more than $125 million.
Royal Air Maroc’s ATR 72-600s are the first ATR aircraft to be equipped with the new ‘Armonia’ cabin, specially designed for ATR by the Italian company Giugiaro Design. The Armonia cabin includes new seats that are both lighter and more comfortable, providing passengers with more room, as well as more spacious overhead compartments.
The Moroccan carrier’s ATR 72-600s are also the first ATR aircraft to be equipped with a new avionics suite developed by Thales. The avionics feature a new glass cockpit with five screens and new communication, navigation and monitoring systems. The new Thales avionics suite is also equipped with a new flight management system (FMS), automatic pilot, alert management system and a new computer providing new aircraft-maintenance functions, among other developments.
At the delivery ceremony, Driss Benhima, chief executive officer of Royal Air Maroc, expressed his “satisfaction at becoming the first operator of this regional aircraft that represents a new benchmark in regional aviation. The six ATR ‘-600s’ that we are going to add to our fleet will enable us to develop new routes while offering high-quality service to our passengers.”
Filippo Bagnato, CEO of ATR, said: “This step is very important for the ATR -600 program. We are going to ramp up considerably as of next year, and we are going to do so by offering airlines cutting-edge aircraft and by providing them the best economic performance on the market.”
The ATR 72-600 obtained European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certification in May 2011, a pre-requisite for its entry into service. According to ATR, the ATR 42-600 will be certified by the end of the year and will enter into service in 2012.
Since the launch of the ATR “-600” program in October 2007, ATR has already recorded orders for some 180 “-600″-series aircraft.
The ATR 72-600 seats 68 to 74 passengers and is powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PW 127M turboprop engines, each delivering 2,750 shaft horsepower of maximum takeoff power.
Maximum takeoff weight for the ATR 72-600 is 23,000 kilograms (50,706lb) and its maximum payload is 7,500kg (16,535lb). The aircraft’s maximum range in instrument flight rules conditions and with all seats occupied is 899 nautical miles (1,665 kilometers).
Royal Air Maroc has been transporting passengers and freight since 1957.
In addition to its two new ATR 72-600s, Royal Air Maroc’s fleet includes 44 medium- and long-haul aircraft, among them 34 Boeing 737s (-400s, -500s, -700s and -800s), one Boeing 747-400, two Boeing 757s, three Boeing 767-300ERs and four Airbus A321s. The airline’s fleet also includes two ATR 42-300s and four ATR 72-200s for regional service.