The first ATR 72-500 ever delivered to a Russian airline now operates with UTair, the Siberian aviation company that recently placed an order for 20 of the type for its regional airline based in Khanty Mansiysk. Officially closed in late April and valued at $426 million at list prices, the contract calls for delivery of the new 70-seat turboprops through the end of next year. The deal brought to 37 the number of ATR turboprops UTair either operates now or plans to accept, potentially making it the largest ATR operator in Europe. UTair took delivery of its first new ATR 72-500 in late May.
Operating a fleet of nearly 200 aircraft, most of which run on domestic routes to some 300 destinations, UTair launched ATR operations in 2006, when it brought the first of twelve 46-seat ATR 42s into the country after a lengthy tender process that pitted the Franco-Italian turboprops against the government’s preferred choice, Antonov An-140s built by Russia’s Aviacor.
The airline, which also flies three ATR 72-200s in Russia, along with two ATR 42-300s in Ukraine as UTair Ukraine, plans to add capacity on existing segments and develop new routes in both countries. Delivery of the new aircraft will bring to more than 50 the number of ATRs operated by Russian, Ukrainian and other CIS countries’ carriers.