Brazil’s TRIP Linhas Aéreas today announced plans to acquire 18 new 68-seat ATR 72-600s and reserve options on another 22. The airline will order nine ATR-600s directly from the manufacturer and lease another nine from Air Lease Corporation and Gecas. The addition of the 18 airplanes to the fleet would make TRIP the largest ATR operator in the world, with 51 of the Franco-Italian turboprops. American Eagle now operates the largest fleet, with 39 aircraft.
TRIP plans to use the extra capacity to expand its domestic network with new destinations and add frequency on growing routes it already services. The airplanes’ short-field performance will allow access to the most restricted airports in Brazil, ATR said in a statement.
“Brazil is providing us huge commercial opportunities as airlines want to expand their regional networks with the most fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly aircraft,” said ATR chief executive Filippo Bagnato. “We are proud that our aircraft are really becoming very popular across the country. There are some 50 already flying, while [another] 40 aircraft will join in the next three years.”
In business for 13 years, TRIP last year served 85 cities and flew about 5 million passengers and now flies a fleet of some 50 aircraft, including nine Embraer E175s and seven E190s. Controlled by the Caprioli and Aguia Branca groups, it also counts as an investor SkyWest Airlines of the U.S., which holds a 20-percent share of its capital.