Brazilian carrier TRIP Linhas Aéreas is acquiring 18 new ATR 72-600 regional turboprops, along with options on 22 additional aircraft.
TRIP Linhas Aéreas is ordering nine of the ATR 72-600s directly from the French-Italian manufacturer, which is based in Toulouse. In addition to its purchase contract with ATR, TRIP will lease nine additional ATR 72-600s from Air Lease Corporation and GE Capital Aviation Services.
The Brazilian airline’s first ATR 72-600 will enter into service in October.
Together with its existing fleet of 33 ATR turboprops, TRIP’s new deals for 18 ATR 72-600s will make it the largest operator of ATR aircraft in the world. When all 18 firm ATR 72-600s enter service, TRIP will have a fleet of 51 ATR turboprops. Today’s largest ATR fleet, 39 aircraft, is operated in the United States and Puerto Rico by American Eagle.
TRIP’s new aircraft will be equipped with new technological developments incorporated into the ATR’s 600-series aircraft, including a new “glass cockpit” avionics suite and a redesigned cabin interior. The new ATR 600-series Armonia cabin is equipped with thinner and lighter seats and larger overhead bins than were installed in previous ATR models.
The cabins of each of TRIP’s ATR 72-600’s will be configured for 68 passengers.
ATR says the 18 ATR 72-600s will enable TRIP Linhas Aéreas to expand its domestic network to new destinations, as well as to add seat capacity and more service frequencies on routes where demand is growing.
The performance of the ATR 72-600 on short runways will allow TRIP’s new aircraft to operate from the most restricted airports in Brazil, according to ATR.
“We have been successfully operating several types of ATRs for more than a decade. Purchasing ATR -600s is then a logical continuity in our partnership with ATR,” says José Mario Caprioli Dos Santos, chief executive officer of TRIP Linhas Aéreas. “We will be glad to introduce the newest improvements of these aircraft into our fleet, and to enhance and expand our air service offer with even higher standards of performance and comfort, as expected by the growing Brazilian market. We are also proud to become the largest ATR operator around the world.”
“Brazil is providing us huge commercial opportunities as airlines want to expand their regional networks with the most fuel efficient and environmental-friendly aircraft. We are proud that our aircraft are really becoming very popular aircraft across the country,” says Filippo Bagnato, chief executive officer of ATR.
“Some 50 [are] already flying, while some other 40 aircraft will join in the next three years,” adds Bagnato. “We are convinced that the introduction in Brazil of the new ATR -600s, which are now the new worldwide reference of modernity in regional aviation, will contribute to expand and consolidate the popularity of our aircraft in the country.”
After more than 13 years of operations in Brazil, TRIP is the largest regional airline in South America in terms of cities served and of the size of its regional-airliner fleet, according to ATR.
TRIP is controlled by the Caprioli and Águia Branca groups, both of which own many bus and coach companies and have long histories of profitability and sustained growth.
A 20 per cent stake shareholder in TRIP is U.S. company SkyWest, Inc., which, with more than 700 aircraft, is the biggest regional-airline company in the world.
Generating revenues of BRL747 million ($450.48 million) in 2010,TRIP served 85 cities and flew about 5 million passengers with a fleet of 47 regional aircraft. The company has some 3,000 employees.
For more information on TRIP Linhas Aéreas, see www.voetrip.com.br.