Indonesia’s Lion Air on Thursday inked a firm contract for another 27 ATR 72-600s, raising its order total for the new Franco-Italian turboprops to 40 and making it the manufacturer’s largest customer for ATR 72s. Regional subsidiary Wings Air already operates 16 ATR 72-500s and awaits delivery on four more. Deliveries of Lion Air’s first ATR 72-600 will start in November and run into 2015, Wings Air chairman and Lion Air president Pak Ruski Kirana told a packed assemblage of reporters and officials at the ATR stand. ATR places the value of this latest order at $610 million.
The Western world’s two remaining turboprop makers each made sales headlines at last week’s Singapore Airshow, where Indonesia’s Lion Air padded ATR’s already robust order book and Bombardier’s Q400 showed signs of life following a lengthy dry spell.
Fokker Services Asia has agreed to join ATR’s maintenance, repair and overhaul network. The company has just opened a new facility in Singapore and will use this to support Southeast Asian operators of ATR’s twin turboprop regional airliners.
ATR has some 250 aircraft operating in the Asia Pacific region and another 80 on order. It is expected to announce more new business from the region at the Singapore Airshow today.
Airlines from the Asia Pacific region played a big part in the sales success enjoyed last year by European airframer ATR (Booth E01), with operators such as Wings Air of Indonesia, Malaysia’s Firefly and Skywest Airlines of Australia among its client list. ATR believes there is more to come and this week’s Singapore Airshow could well see a further 40 or so orders and commitments announced from this part of the world.
India’s Kingfisher Airlines has missed pre-delivery payments on 38 ATR turboprops, triggering an effective cancellation of the order, ATR CEO Filippo Bagnato reported last month during the company’s annual “state of the company” overview in Toulouse. Nevertheless, the development won’t affect ATR’s plans to progressively increase its production rate over the next three years while preparing to add a larger, 90-seat model to its product lineup.
GE Capital Aviation Services (Gecas) announced last month that it placed an order for another two ATR 72-600s, along with options for a further two, from the Franco-Italian turboprop manufacturer. The order follows Gecas’ first-ever ATR order placed in June at the Paris Air Show and brings the total number of ATRs ordered by the leasing company to 17, along with options on another 17. Gecas expects to begin taking delivery of the new airplanes late this year.
Toulouse, France-based regional turboprop manufacturer ATR is pressing ahead with plans to increase its production rate progressively over the next three years while preparing to add a larger, 90-seat model to its product line, which now consists of the 50-seat ATR 42-600 and 74-seat ATR 72-600.
Australia’s Skywest Airlines plans to introduce five more ATR 72-600s leased from Singapore’s Avation PLC, which placed a firm order for the airplanes with ATR last month. Scheduled for delivery from early 2013 through early 2014, the five new aircraft will fly as Virgin Australia under a wet-lease contract with Skywest.
Lao Airlines, the national airline of Laos, expects to take delivery of its first Avic “Modern Ark” MA600 turboprop “sometime after February,” marking the 56-seat turboprop’s entry into revenue service outside China. The only other two existing MA600s, delivered in December 2010 and September 2011, respectively, operate in China with the Civil Aviation Flight University of China (Cafuc) for training purposes.