The airline will introduce four ATR 42-600s and one ATR 72-600 and will become the largest operator of ATRs in Africa. Tanzanian carrier Precision Air Services and ATR last month announced the signature of a contract for the purchase of four ATR 42-600s and one ATR 72-600 aircraft. The deal is valued at US$ 98 million. Delivery of the 50-seat ATR 42-600s will start in late 2012. The ATR 72-600 will be delivered in 2014.
With this acquisition, Precision Air Services will bring its fleet of ATRs up to 14 aircraft, thus becoming the largest operator of ATR aircraft in Africa. The current fleet of ATRs of Precision Air Services includes 5 ATR 72-500s, 2 ATR 42-500s and 2 ATR 42-300s.
With the introduction of the brand new ATR ‘-600 series’ aircraft, the carrier will further develop its regional network, adding new routes and frequencies to its domestic market. This fleet expansion will allow the airline to offer its passengers the advantages and comfort of the new ATR -600 series ‘Armonia’ cabin.
Commenting on the deal, Michael Shirima, the Board of Directors Chairman of Precision Air Services declared: “We have been operating ATR aircraft for years, and we are totally convinced of their suitability for our regional routes. The ATRs are perfectly adapted to the hot climate in Africa, and feature optimal performance in smaller airfields and unpaved runways. Also, they provide us the lowest operating costs, thus strongly contributing to the development of regional aviation in our country”.
Alfonse Kioko, Group Managing Director and CEO of Precision Air, commented: “The very low fuel burn and the high dispatch reliability of the ATR aircraft, are helping us to maintain the level of ticket price necessary for the very strong competition in our market”.
ATR and Precision Air Services set up in 2006 a joint-partnership for certified aeronautical maintenance training for some selected Tanzanian students. Each student spends three years being trained at the Aeronautical Technical School in Toulouse, France, and then joins Precision Air Services’ maintenance crew in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. So far, 12 students have already completed their training and joined the airline. Other additional 24 students are currently being trained or programmed in the coming years.
Filippo Bagnato, Chief Executive Officer of ATR, declared: “We are pleased to introduce the new ATR -600s in Eastern Africa, as well as to receive again the confidence of Precision Air Services. We have developed a strong partnership with the airline across time, which includes also the development of training programmes for maintenance and piloting activities. We are convinced that such fruitful relationship will be further strengthening in the coming years”.
ATR has 110 aircraft in operation and on order with African and Middle East carriers and is established in 25 countries of the region.