Air Botswana has taken delivery of the first of two new ATR 72-500 regional transports in accordance with US$ 37 million deal inked last year.
The aircraft are configured with 68 seats and equipped with the “Elegance Cabin” and in-flight entertainment system.
The aircraft will add to the Botswana flag carrier`s existing fleet of three ATR 42-500s. In addition, the airline will fly its new ATR turboprops in routes previously operated by regional jets that become unprofitable.
Commenting on the delivery Air Botswana acting general manager LM Bantsi said the “introduction of these new ATR 72-500 aircraft responds to our need to increase our route coverage and to provide more frequencies to our passengers.
“There is a strong development of the regional air transportation in Botswana and we are committed to match this opportunity with larger capacity ATRs.”
He added the country was “very satisfied” with the reliability and the performance of the ATR 42-500s it already flies.
Bantsi added the second aircraft will be delivered in May.
ATR CEO Stephane Mayer underlined “the very strong commonality between both the ATR 42-500 and the ATR 72-500, which will ease the introduction of the new aircraft into the fleet of Air Botswana.
“Such commonality will also represent a significant reduction in training and spares investments as well as ongoing operating costs.”
He adds the ATR-range of aircraft are playing an important role in the development of the regional air connectivity in the whole African continent. “We count today more than 80 aircraft being operated by some 25 carriers. This reflects the suitability of the ATR aircraft for some specific operating conditions in the continent, including hot and high environments and small and remote airfields.”