Six months after beginning operations, Kingfisher Airlines has confirmed it has ordered 20 ATR 72-500 twin turboprops valued at $350 million and taken options on a further 15 worth about $200 million. Deliveries from Avions de Transport Regional are scheduled to begin in March 2006, when they will join eight Airbus A320s and three A319s.
The ATR 72s, which are to be equipped with in-flight entertainment (IFE) systems, will be used to develop Kingfisher’s route network by opening scheduled services to secondary cities without previous air connections. Kingfisher did not reveal whether it had yet selected IFE equipment for the aircraft.
Airline chairman and managing director Dr. Vijay Mallya said the order was the result of a thorough analysis of available aircraft, and that Kingfisher had settled for the “pretty unique” ATR product, which he was sure would provide “a superior in-flight experience for our guests.”
He claimed that negotiations had been hard. “ATR wore us down, but I’m sure [ATR chief executive] Filippo [Bagnato] would say the same,” he said. Major factors in the selection were ATR’s available in-country support and the regional airliner’s operating economics.