ATR and Taiwan’s Mandarin Airlines, a regional subsidiary of Taiwan’s flag carrier China Airlines, has signed a contract for the purchase of six ATR 72-600s, valued at some $160 million (US).
With the acquisition of these brand new ATR -600s, Mandarin Airlines becomes a new member of the ATR family. The aircraft will operate within Taiwan’s domestic network, featuring the highest standards of passenger comfort and the most advanced technologies. With its new fleet of ATR 72-600s, Mandarin Airlines will benefit from the lowest operating costs among all 70-seat regional aircraft, and will be able to compete in a highly challenging market with cutting-edge and affordable air services.
Besides the contract signing, ATR is also willing to provide engineering and technical support to China Airlines and its subsidiaries to set-up in-house capabilities for ATR heavy maintenance, up to C-checks.
PNG Air on November 7, 2016 announced a $134 million (US) contract for the firm purchase of five ATR 72-600s. The deal represents the conversion into firm orders of five options from a previous deal.
Formerly known as Airlines PNG, PNG Air signed for a total of six firm ATR 72-600s and 14 options in 2014. They started operating their first ATR 72-600 in November 2015. Today, the airline operates four ATR 72-600s and will receive the fifth aircraft before the end of this year.
The five new ATR 72-600 aircraft plus an additional one on lease will bring the total ATR fleet to 12 when the last aircraft is delivered in 2022.
The airline is currently undergoing a major transformation plan, with an ambitious fleet renewal and rebranding and a new business strategy focused on the domestic market.
Airlines PNG (Port Moresby) is rebranding as PNG Air with the delivery of the first new ATR 72-600. The company is replacing its older de Havilland Canada DHC-8-100 Dash 8 fleet with the new ATRs and has taken the opportunity to change its image.
According to the airline’s Chairman Murray Woo, “The Company’s capital was restructured so that the Company is now unambiguously PNG owned and a permanent part of the country’s infrastructure and economy. The decision was made to re-fleet with the ATR 72-600, meaning the airline will be the only carrier in the country servicing all major ports in the domestic market with new, efficient, highly reliable, state of the art aircraft. That will allow the airline for the first time to offer what is clearly the premium product on domestic routes.
We expect to have 3 brand new ATRs operating by February 2016 and 7 by December 2017. After that the plan is to replace all our Dash 8s and become a 100% ATR operator by 2020. The ATR is the only aircraft currently in production that can fly to all major ports in PNG. ATR have invested heavily to make their product by far the most widely chosen regional turboprop aircraft around the world.”
The company also commented on the decision to rebrand:
“The Board has also taken the decision to rebrand the airline, to reinvigorate its image. Re-fleeting gives the Company this opportunity, as a fleet of new, larger and more comfortable aircraft will improve public perception of the airline’s safety and service. Rebranding will reinforce that the airline is offering something new and genuinely improved. A new appearance will also emphasise improvements in the airline’s service culture.”
Copyright Photo: Eurospot. The pictured ATR 72-212A (ATR 72-600) F-WWEQ (msn 1287) will become P2-ATR on delivery. It displays the new brand.
ATR (Toulouse) has obtained European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certification for its passenger-cargo “combi” version of the ATR 72-600. The new cabin configuration of the aircraft allows combining increased cargo volume for over 19 m3 in volume and nearly 3,000 kg in weight with up to 44 passenger seats section. By replacing the forward seven rows by a cargo section which can accommodate four containers, the aircraft load-carrying capacity can be almost doubled. The combi version design is also offered for retrofit on the existing aircraft.
The delivery of the first unit is scheduled to take place before the end of the year to Airlines PNG of Papua New Guinea. Airlines PNG will take eight aircraft in a “combi” configuration.
Binter Canarias (Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, Spain) took delivery on September 16 in Toulouse of the first of 12 70-seat ATR 72-600s ordered through two different contracts signed in 2014 and earlier this year. With the introduction of these new ATR 72-600s series’ aircraft the airline will progressively upgrade its current fleet, consisting of 16 ATR 72-500s. Binter, which is a long-standing ATR operator, has progressively developed its regional network over the Canary Islands with ATR aircraft since 1989.
Photo: ATR. ATR 72-212A (marketed as the ATR 72-600) F-WWEG (msn 1278) became EC-MIF on delivery.
Flybe (Exeter) is introducing an ATR 72-600 series aircraft into its fleet. The pictured G-FEXB (msn 1277) named “Eindride Viking” has been delivered to Flybe from the leasing company Avation. The ATR 72 will operate from Sweden in the livery of Flybe’s new partner in Northern Europe, Scandinavian Airlines-SAS (Stockholm).
During 2015 and 2016 Flybe will incorporate into the SAS network five new 70-seat ATR 72-600s leased from Avation. The aircraft will be based at Stockholm’s Arlanda Airport from where they will serve selected SAS domestic and regional destinations. The operation of these aircraft is a result of the recently announced six-year white label partnership recently established between Flybe and SAS, Scandinavia’s largest carrier.
The new type is expected to enter service on October 25 from Stockholm (Arlanda) to Kalmar, Ronneby, Sundsvall-Härnösand, Turku and Visby according to ch-aviation.
Myanmar National Airlines (formerly Myanma Airways) (Yangon) took delivery of its first ATR 72-600 (ATR 72-212A XY-AJY, msn 1267) on August 3.
The airline, which currently operates a fleet of three ATR 72-500s, two ATR 72-200s and one ATR 42-300, had booked an order for six ATR 72-600s in 2014, along with options for six additional aircraft, in a deal valued at $296 million (USD).
With these new ATR 72-600s, the last of which is scheduled for delivery in 2017, the airline is upgrading its regional aircraft fleet with the most modern and technologically-advanced aircraft. The arrival of these new aircraft will provide the additional seat capacity and further enhanced service required to meet the booming demand for tourism and business travel across the country.
Myanmar National Airlines is currently consolidating an ambitious strategy to expand its global presence in the country. In addition to the introduction of the newest ATR-600s, the airline is also setting up a modern MRO (Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul) center in Yangon, with support from ATR. Today, there are 30 ATRs in operation across the country, flying with eight different airline liveries.
Myanmar National Airways is the national flag carrier of Myanmar. Founded in 1949 as Union of Burma Airways, the company was then renamed Myanma Airways and will now be operating under the name of Myanmar National Airlines. Today, Myanmar National Airlines operates scheduled services to all major domestic destinations and is in the midst of a major restructuring plan aimed at establishing Myanmar National Airlines as a major carrier in the ASEAN region and beyond. The airline network will rapidly expand outside Myanmar with the introduction of ten Boeing 737-800 and 737-Max 8 aircraft in the near term, and with the renewal of its regional fleet with the brand-new ATR 72-600.