Malaysia Airlines has signed a firm order for 20 ATR 72-600s and optioned 16 additional aircraft, in a deal which ATR values at more than US$840 million if the carrier firms up all its options.
The signing of the order follows a memorandum of understanding announced by Malaysia Airlines in December 2012.
With the February 19 signature, Malaysia Airlines brings to 42 the total of ATR 72 turboprops it has purchased since its initial order in 2007.
Malaysia Airlines currently has 22 ATR 72-500 regional airliners, with 12 and 10 operated by regional-airline subsidiaries Firefly and MASwings respectively.
According to ATR, the introduction of the 20 new aircraft, which are the first ATR Series 600 regional airliners to be selected for the growing Malaysian and regional market, will reinforce Firefly’s and MASwings’ positions on routes to smaller communities and in business markets.
Its new order confirms Malaysia Airlines as a major operator of ATRs in Asia. Deliveries of the 20 new ATR 72-600 turboprops will start by mid 2013.
The arrival of the new ATR72-600s will enable Malaysia Airlines to add new routes and frequencies to its global network, according to ATR.
Besides the 22 ATR 72-500s operated by Firefly and MASwings, Malaysia Airlines also has a fleet of more than 100 medium and long-haul Airbus A330s, A380s, Boeing 737s, 747s and 777s.
Malaysia Airlines has newly become a member of the oneworld alliance. It operates international flights to Asia, Australia/New Zealand, the Middle East, Europe and the U.S. West Coast.
“We have been partnering with ATR for the last five years, and we are really satisfied with the outstanding performance and the commercial results that our ATR 72s provide to our growing community networks,” says Ahmad Jauhari, chief executive officer of Malaysia Airlines.
“The ATR aircraft are clearly playing an important role in the development of Malaysia Airlines, as they connect regional destinations and enable us to feed larger aircraft at our main hubs,” adds Jauhari. “The new aircraft will further improve the guest experience on our community airlines as they connect more and more people across Malaysia and the surrounding regions.”
“Our exclusive ATR 72 fleet has allowed Firefly to develop a unique high frequency network out of Subang, Penang and Johor Baruh, which greatly benefits our Malaysian communities, as well as the rest of the population in the Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle,” says Ignatius Ong, chief executive officer of Firefly.
“We are glad that MASwings’ fleet of ATR 72s can efficiently serve the Sabah and Sarawak (East Malaysian states), and the BIMP-EAGA (Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area) communities and help to further enhance the tourism industry and the socio-economic development of the region,” remarks Captain Dato’ Nawawi Awang, chief executive officer of MASwings.