Madagascar’s national airline Air Madagascar has placed an order for three ATR 72-600s for a total of approximately $77 million, with the first aircraft will be delivered from 2017, and received the first of two on lease.
ATR announced the signing of the contract on 18 March and at the same time announced that the airline recently signed an agreement with the Irish leasing company Elix Aviation Capital to add two new ATR 72-600s. The first was delivered on March 18 with the second to follow next month.
The arrival of all these five ATRs of the latest generation will enable Air Madagascar to renew its fleet of ATRs, which currently consists of one ATR 42-500 and two ATR 72-500s, significantly increasing seat capacity on the main domestic routes, while offering passengers the highest levels of comfort, ATR said. Air Madagascar introduced its first ATR, an ATR 42-300, in 1996 and has operated the ATR -500 series since 2005.
Henry Rabary-Njaka, Chairman of the Board of Air Madagascar, was “very pleased to be among the first African operators to fly the new ATR -600 series. These aircraft have become a veritable benchmark for regional airlines around the world. The performance of the ATR 72-600s notably on short and unprepared runways, along with their strong reliability, make these aircraft a real asset in the expansion of our regional transportation network. In addition, their low operating costs will allow us to offer the most attractive airfares. The new ATR -600 series are also at the forefront of technology in terms of comfort, and we are pleased to offer these new standards in modernity to our passengers.” He added: “In the long term, we will increase our fleet of latest generation ATRs up to seven aircraft”.
At present more than 110 ATRs are in use in 27 countries in Africa and the Middle East, flown by more than thirty operators.
Thanos Pascalis, Chief Operating Officer for Elix Aviation Capital said: “We are very pleased to expand our portfolio of regional aircraft with the latest generation of ATRs. The ATR 72-600 is a real commercial success worldwide, and as specialists in turboprop aircraft leasing we want to develop our portfolio by offering this aircraft to our clients. We are pleased to begin this partnership with ATR and with Air Madagascar, and we are confident that the ATR -600 series will allow us to develop other business opportunities in the very near future.”
Patrick de Castelbajac, Chief Executive Officer of ATR, highlighted “the solidity of our partnership with Air Madagascar, which began almost twenty years ago and has greatly enhanced air transport across the country. ATR aircraft have become essential in the fleet of Madagascar’s national airline: they provide operational flexibility while offering very competitive operating costs. These ATR -600s will enable Air Madagascar to revitalize its fleet with aircraft which, for many years already, have shown themselves to be the best solution for short-haul transport worldwide.
“We are also very happy with the fact that Elix Aviation Capital has added the ATR ‘-600’ to their growing portfolio of ATRs. We hope to continue to develop this partnership to bring ATR -600s, already present in the fleets of over 40 companies, to an even larger number of operators.”
The ATR 72-600 can seat between 68 to 74 passengers or carry a maximum load of 7 500 kg. Maximum range with full load is 900 nautical miles (1665 km). The aircraft is powered by two Pratt & Whitney 127M engines delivering 2 750 hp per engine.