Irish carrier Aer Arann took delivery of its first ATR 72-600 aircraft last Friday. The May 3 delivery marked the first of eight of the new -600 model that the airline has ordered to replace its existing fleet of ATR72-200s and smaller ATR42-300s. In a deal worth $187 million, the remaining seven aircraft are due to arrive between now and April 2014. With three ATR72-500s still in service, the new aircraft will take Aer Arann’s ATR fleet to 11 and they will operate in the livery of Aer Lingus Regional under its franchise agreement with the Irish flag carrier.
Adding to existing routes operated from Aer Arann’s bases in Dublin, Cork, Shannon and Knock, the operator will introduce two new services to Manchester and Birmingham in the UK. It will also increase the frequencies of flights between Dublin and the Scottish cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow.
“Regional traffic is substantially developing and we aim to upgrade our regional aircraft fleet with the new ATR -600s,” said Aer Arann’s interim CEO Sean Brogan. “These aircraft offer high economic efficiency, optimum performance and exceptional passenger comfort. We are convinced that these new airplanes will bring very interesting business opportunities, while further developing air traffic in the region.”
According to ATR chief executive Filippo Bagnato, demand for turboprop aircraft is strong in the European airline market, which is facing rising operating costs and the need to renew aging fleets.