Tanzanian carrier Precision Air Services has placed an order for four ATR 42-600s and one ATR 72-600.
Regional-turboprop manufacturer ATR values the deal at $98 million. Delivery of the 50-seat ATR 42-600s will start in late 2012. The 68-seat ATR 72-600 will be delivered in 2014.
With this acquisition, Precision Air Services will bring its fleet of ATR regional turboprops up to 14 aircraft, becoming the largest operator of ATR aircraft in Africa. Precision Air Services’ current fleet of ATR aircraft includes five 68-seat ATR 72-500s, two 48-seat ATR 42-500s and two 48-seat ATR 42-320s.
Precision Air Services will use the five new ATR ‘-600 series’ aircraft to further develop its regional network, adding new routes and frequencies in its domestic market.
“We have been operating ATR aircraft for years, and we are totally convinced of their suitability for our regional routes,” says Michael Shirima, the chairman of the board of directors of Precision Air Services. “The ATRs are perfectly adapted to the hot climate in Africa, and feature optimal performance in smaller airfields and unpaved runways. Also, they provide us the lowest operating costs, thus strongly contributing to the development of regional aviation in our country.”
“The very low fuel burn and the high dispatch reliability of the ATR aircraft are helping us to maintain the level of ticket price necessary for the very strong competition in our market,” notes Alfonse Kioko, group managing director and CEO of Precision Air.
ATR and Precision Air Services set up a joint partnership in 2006 for certified aeronautical-maintenance training for selected Tanzanian students. Each student spends three years being trained at the Aeronautical Technical School in Toulouse in France and then joins Precision Air Services’ maintenance crew in Dar es Salaam, the largest city in Tanzania.
So far, 12 students have already completed their training and joined the airline. Another 24 students are currently being trained or are scheduled to begin training in the coming years.
“We are pleased to introduce the new ATR -600s in Eastern Africa, as well as to receive again the confidence of Precision Air Services,” remarks Filippo Bagnato, chief executive officer of ATR. “We have developed a strong partnership with the airline across time, which includes also the development of training programmes for maintenance and piloting activities. We are convinced that such [a] fruitful relationship will be further strengthening in the coming years.”
ATR currently has 110 aircraft in operation and on order with African and Middle East carriers and has established an operational presence in 25 countries in the region.
Precision Air Services was established in 1993. The airline says it now offers more connections to all major towns in Tanzania than any other carrier. Regionally, it also serves destinations in Kenya, Uganda and the Union of the Comoros, an island nation in the Indian Ocean.