The first ATR 72-600 turboprop aircraft destined for the Asia Pacific Region has been handed over to the leasing company Avation Plc, as part of an agreement with Australian regional carrier Skywest Airlines and Virgin Australia.
Avation Plc has placed firm orders for nine ATR 72-600 aircraft to be operated on Australian regional routes and has options to purchase another eight.
The company already has placed six ATR 72-500s in Australia as part of the agreement.
The ATR 72-600 is the latest addition to the ATR aircraft family, and the most advanced regional aircraft flying today with features including a new full-glass cockpit, awarded Giugiaro-designed cabin interiors and PW 127M engines.
In addition to the outstanding economic performance of ATR aircraft, the ATR 72-600 sets a new standard of comfort for passengers, offers more cabin baggage capacity and delivers improved operational flexibility for airlines.
Jeff Chatfield, Chairman and Founding Director of Avation Plc, said: “This is the first of a series of ATR 72-600s we are buying and we are delighted that it will be the first operating in the Asia Pacific region where we are successfully operating on a number of Australian regional routes.
“The acquisition is in line with our strategy to own and maintain a fleet aircraft which are of a low age and very fuel efficient and which as a result, have a high residual value to shareholders."
Filippo Bagnato, the Chief Executive Officer of ATR, said: “Today's delivery to Avation is significant not only because this is the first ATR 72-600 to go to the Asia Pacific region but because of the growing importance of Avation as an ATR customer.
“There has been very positive feedback from passengers who have travelled on the ATR 72-500s in Australia, and the enhanced comfort of the new 600 series model should contribute to continued favourable reaction to ATR services.
“Avation's commitment to expand with ATR 72-600s is a significant vote of confidence in our aircraft.”