Gabon’s Afrijet today confirmed an order for three ATR 72-600 twin turboprops as it prepares to replace some of its existing ATR 72-500 aircraft. Announcing the deal at the Dubai Airshow, ATR said the second and third deliveries of the -600 model will feature Pratt & Whitney’s more fuel-efficient new PW127XT-M engine.
The latest -600 model will give Afrijet an additional 10 passenger seats (up to 78) compared with its existing -500s. With a range of up to 758 nm, the new aircraft will allow the carrier to expand services across central Africa, with routes into countries such as Cameroon, Chad, the Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, and the Republic of Congo.
“To be effective in Africa, an aircraft has to be cost-efficient, reliable, and operationally versatile,” said Afrijet CEO Mark Gaffajoli. “We need these new ATR aircraft, as creating connectivity in the Gulf of Guinea is vital for the boom in trade and community integration in the CEMAC zone [Central African Economic and Monetary Community]. As an operator in Equatorial Africa, home of the second-largest forest in the world, we are proud to be preparing to invest in a device with a low carbon footprint and a controlled and predictable ecological impact.”
Meanwhile, Japanese regional carrier Toki Air signed a letter of intent covering a collaboration with ATR to consult over adding ATR 42 aircraft to its fleet. In particular, the operator is looking to acquire the new ATR 42-600S short takeoff and landing version of the twin turboprop model that the European manufacturer announced in May.
With 40 passengers on board, the ATR 42-600S will be able to operate from runways as short as 800 meters (2,624 feet), which is 250 meters shorter than the performance of the existing ATR 42-600 model. Toki Air wants to be able to operate from its home base in Niigata, and also from the nearby Sado Airport, which has an 890-meter runway.
The carrier has already signed a lease agreement for a pair of ATR 72-600s that it intends to start operating in 2022. First deliveries of the ATR 72-600 are expected in 2025.