Franco-Italian regional turboprop maker ATR continued to defy predictions for a tepid sales showing at Le Bourget yesterday when it inked a purchase contract for 10 of its new ATR 72-600s with Spain’s Air Nostrum and another firm order with Royal Air Maroc for four ATR 72-600s and a pair of smaller 42-600s. The order from Air Nostrum accompanied options for another 10 airplanes and the contract with Royal Air Maroc added options for two ATR 72-600s.
And at press time, ATR was set to conclude another deal with Nigeria’s Afrijet covering four ATR72-500s worth $80 million. All told, during the first two days of the show, ATR inked firm orders for 16 airplanes worth more than $300 million.
“Thanks to the clear advantages of the ATR 72-600 aircraft, mainly in terms of operating costs, we will be able to maintain our leading position in the Spanish regional market,” said Air Nostrum CEO Carlos Bertomeu. “Our new fleet of ATRs, which is well adapted to our new competitive environment, will also allow us to further improve our cost structure and strengthen our business case while offering the best value to our customers.” ATR plans to start deliveries to Air Nostrum in 2011, after the 600 Series gains its European certification.
The contract with Royal Air Maroc follows a letter of intent signed by the carrier in March. The airline plans to launch a new regional subsidiary called Regional Air Maroc Express, scheduled for launch in the coming weeks and created in cooperation with the Moroccan public authorities.
The new airline expects to become the first carrier in the Mediterranean region to operate the -600 series, when it takes delivery in 2011. In the meantime, Royal Air Maroc Express plans to lease four ATR 72-200s from ATR.