Tanzanian carrier Precision Air Services has taken delivery of the first ATR 42-600 turboprop regional airliner to go into scheduled commercial service.
The ATR 42-600 is also the airline’s first new ATR “-600” series aircraft out of five (four ATR 42-600s and one ATR 72-600) that Precision Air Services ordered in December 2011.
ATR handed over the ATR 42-600 to Precision Air Services in an official ceremony which took place on November 9 at the ATR Delivery Center in Toulouse in France. The ceremony was attended by Alfonse Kioko, group managing director and CEO of Precision Air Services; and Filippo Bagnato, CEO of ATR.
The introduction of the -600 series ATR regional airliners will increase Precision Air Services’ ATR fleet to 14 aircraft, making it the largest ATR operator in Africa.
According to ATR, Precision Air Services is keen to further develop its regional network, adding new routes and frequencies to its domestic and regional markets.
The aircraft’s first commercial flight was due to take place upon its arrival ay Tanzania’s capital Dar Es Salaam, with the ATR 42-600 scheduled to take off for Kilimanjaro.
Precision Air Services’ second ATR 42-600 will be delivered towards the end of this year, with the other two deliveries continuing in 2013. Delivery of the ATR 72-600 is scheduled for 2014.
“Needless to say, as a Tanzanian regional airline, Precision Air honors Tanzania today in making our country the first and only African country to own this sophisticated very modern navigation model that will optimize time for approach, reduce fuel consumption and promises more comfort for our passengers due to its seats design,” Kioko said on November 9.
“By expanding our fleet our customers will enjoy more efficiency and better travel experience from us,” Kioko added. “We are now giving our customers a greater choice and better service.”
ATR supports Precision Air Services’ training needs and in 2006 set up a partnership for certified aeronautical maintenance training for Tanzanian students. Each student spends one academic year at the Aeronautical Technical School in Toulouse and then joins Precision Air Services’ maintenance crew in Dar Es Salaam.
To date, 12 students have already graduated from these courses and joined the airline. Five students are currently undergoing intensive training, while 24 more are expected in the coming years.
A total of 105 ATR aircraft are currently in service in the fleets of airlines in Africa and the Middle East.