European turboprop regional-airliner manufacturer ATR has delivered the first ATR 72-600 in the livery of an Asian carrier.
The aircraft, which bears the registration B-17001, was delivered on September 27 at the ATR assembly line in Toulouse to Taiwan-based UNI Air, a regional subsidiary of EVA Air.
This first Asian ATR 72-600 is expected to enter commercial service on October 11, with a first commercial domestic flight from Taipei to Taidong.
With the introduction of its new fleet of 10 ATR 72-600 regional airliners, UNI Air will progressively replace its fleet of Bombardier Q300 turboprops. The airline will thus add seat capacity.
UNI Air will also use its ATR 72-600s to launch new routes and increase service frequencies. The aircraft will introduce the latest standard of regional-airliner passenger comfort and interior design to UNI Air’s regional network, according to ATR.
Since ATR launched the ATR -600 series aircraft in late 2007, the ATR 72-600 has (according to the manufacturer) become the best-selling 70-seat regional aircraft worldwide over the past five years, with orders for some 240 aircraft to date.
The ATR 72-600 received type certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency in May 2011, becoming the world’s most recently certified 70-seat regional airliner.
Among other improvements, the ATR 72-600 features a new avionics suite, including a full ‘glass’ cockpit specifically developed for ATR by Thales; and totally redesigned cabin interiors, designed by Italian designer Giugiaro.
“We are really proud to be introducing the new ATR 72-600 into our fleet. “This aircraft has proven already to be a commercial and operational success around the world,” said Tony Su, chairman of UNI Air. “We are delighted to be further developing and upgrading our regional routes and service with such an outstanding and comfortable aircraft. The ATR 72-600 is the most modern, technologically advanced and greenest aircraft among its category.”
UNI Air is the largest domestic airline in Taiwan, where it serves 11 destinations with a network of 15 routes. The carrier also flies between Taiwan and Vietnam and serves 13 destinations in the booming China market, on 21 routes.
Its fleet currently includes 11 Boeing MD-90 jets and eight Bombardier Q300 turboprops.
UNI Air and parent company EVA Air operate a combined network between Taiwan and 25 destinations in China, operating 39 different routes between the two territories.