On July 11, regional airliner-manufacturer ATR announced orders at the Farnborough International Airshow 2012 for 13 of the Toulouse-based manufacturer’s 600-series turboprop airliners.
Taiwan-based TransAsia Airways signed a firm order for eight ATR 72-600s and took an option for one additional ATR 72-600. ATR values the deal, including the option, at over US$210 million at list price.
Meanwhile, Lao Airlines signed a contract to buy two ATR 72-600s, valued at US$47 million at catalog price. These two new aircraft will be added to Lao Airlines’ current fleet of four ATR 72-500s.
Additionally, Air Lease Corporation (ALC) signed an order for two ATR 72-600s. These 72-seat aircraft represent conversions into firm orders of two of the 10 options that ATR and ALC included in their first deal, booked at the Farnborough International Airshow 2010. With the purchase of these two aircraft, ALC, founded by Steven Udvar-Hazy, will increase its total fleet of ATR 72-600s to 14.
Danish leasing company Nordic Aviation Capital (NAC) signed a purchase contract for one ATR 42-600, the first new ATR42-600 that NAC has ordered. The European Aviation Safety Agency certificated the ATR 42-600 for full commercial operations on June 19.
According to ATR, this contract, along with the 12 new ATR 72-600s and ATR 72-500s already ordered by NAC, highlight the strong interest of leasing companies in the ATR aircraft family.
Leasing companies represent almost 20 per cent of total ATR sales within the last two years. Today, some 160 ATR aircraft in operation around the world are owned by leasing companies, according to the manufacturer.
Deliveries of TransAsia Airways’ new ATR 72-600s will start in 2014 and extend through 2017. With the purchase of these aircraft, TransAsia Airways will progressively replace its current fleet of nine ATR 72-500s operating on the carrier’s domestic network in Taiwan.
TransAsia’s ATR 72-600 turboprops will be configured with 72 seats and will be equipped with a new full glass cockpit, developed for ATR by Thales, featuring state-of the art technologies in the field of navigation. The aircraft will also be equipped with the Giugiaro-designed, new ATR 600-series ‘Armonia’ cabin.
ATR says the TransAsia deal further consolidates the manufacturer’s in Asia, where it has booked orders for some 240 aircraft since 2005, representing some 40 per cent of its total orders during the period.
“The ATRs perfectly match our short-haul operations,” says Vincent Lin, chairman of TransAsia Airways. “We have been operating ATRs for years and we know how they perfectly fulfill our aim of combining low operating costs, outstanding performance and highest standards of comfort. With the introduction of the new ATR 72-600s we will now be able to further increase our high level of service, while providing affordable fares for our travelers.”
“TransAsia has been operating ATRs for more than 20 years, and we are honored that they decided to further expand our relationship with the introduction of the new ATR -600 series aircraft into their fleet,” remarks Filippo Bagnato, chief executive officer of ATR.
Vientiane-based Lao Airlines is expanding its fleet in order to increase frequency on existing routes and to open new destinations in the surrounding region. Deliveries of the two newly ordered, 70-seat ATR 72-600s will take place late in 2012 and in 2013.
“The acquisition of these two aircraft aims at maintaining a modern fleet and upgrading the level of onboard services,” says Dr. Somphone Douangdara, president of Lao Airlines. “In addition to superb services, the airline saves time and money by having a young fleet. With the ATR 72-600’s operational reliability and cabin comfort, we want to offer better access for the Laotian travelling public and make them feel easy to fly.”
Air Lease Corporation’s two incremental ATR 72-600s will be delivered in July and September 2013.
“We are very satisfied with the market placements and opportunities that our ATR 72-600s are providing us,” says Steven Udvar-Hazy, chairman and chief executive officer of ALC, speaking at the Farnborough International Airshow 2012. “These aircraft are well established as one the most popular aircraft for regional airlines around the world.”
Adds Udvar-Hazy: “We are convinced that the increasing attractiveness of the ATR 72-600s among regional carriers, coupled with their low operating costs, will allow Air Lease to keep developing the regional business and bring additional profitability opportunities. This fuel-efficient turboprop will remain in strong demand in coming years for short-haul regional operations. We want to be prepared and optimally positioned to propose such an outstanding aircraft to our current and future customers.”
Martin Møller, chairman of Nordic Aviation Capital, says of his company’s ATR 42-600 buy: “We have been marketing ATR aircraft for many years now and we and our customers are very satisfied with the low aircraft operating costs, profit potential and residual values that these aircraft have offered and now will continue to offer with the new 600-series models.
Adds Møller: “The acquisition of the new ATR 42-600 aircraft completes our line-up of availability of the full ATR model range and we hope to continue to grow our portfolio with further acquisitions of this, the most modern of 50-seat turboprop aircraft.”