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.
Air Bagan (Yangon) suspended all operations on August 16. The company is vowing to reorganize and return in October with additional aircraft. The company has been struggling since an ATR 72-500 with 49 passengers skidded off the runway on landing at Yangon on July 24 in a heavy rainstorm. The airline was down to one operational ATR 72 and could not maintain its schedules.
Air Bagan started operations on November 15, 2004.
Trigana Air Service (Jakarta) flight TGN 267 with 49 passengers and five crew members on board and operating between Jayapura to Oksibil in Papua, eastern Indonesia has gone missing today (August 16). The airliner is now overdue and is feared to have crashed in the remote area. The flight was operated with an ATR 42-300 registered as PK-YRN (msn 102). The flight crew lost radio contact with ATC before 1500 (3 pm) local time after taking off from Sentani Airport at Papua’s regional capital of Jayapura (see the map below).