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ATR signs 2 aircraft deals with S-E Asian firms
TURBOPROP aircraft manufacturer ATR drew eyeballs on Wednesday, with the signing of the first new commercial aircraft order at the Singapore Airshow.
The French-Italian company unveiled two aircraft deals for the day, both of which involved South-east Asian companies.
Bangkok Airways, a regional airline based in Thailand, inked a deal with ATR for four new ATR 72-600s worth over US$100 million.
This purchase will add to the carrier's current fleet of 15 ATR aircraft comprising nine ATR 72-600s and six ATR 72-500s.
The airline has been one of ATR's long-standing customers, operating ATR aircraft for over two decades.
At the signing, Anawat Leelawatwatana, Bangkok Airways' senior vice-president for finance and accounting, said that the first aircraft is expected to be delivered by the end of the year. He added that the new aircraft would be part of the airline's plan to expand into new destinations around the region, such as those in Indochina.
Christian Scherer, chief executive of ATR, said: "ATR aircraft last year created 70 new routes in Asian countries, generating over one million additional seats and revenue opportunities for their operators.
"This ability to generate business opportunities is clearly a key point of our outstanding expansion in Asia."
ATR also announced another deal involving Berjaya Hotels & Resorts.
The Malaysian company, a subsidiary of Bursa Malaysia-listed conglomerate Berjaya Corporation, will be making a US$15-20 million purchase of two pre-owned ATR 42-500 aircraft that will serve Redang island in Malaysia.
The pre-owned aircraft will be bought from an undisclosed aircraft leasing company.
The hotel group has two resorts, which see an average room rate of US$200, on Redang Island.
The aircraft will reduce the time taken to reach the island from Kuala Lumpur, from five to six hours to just about an hour.
On the choice of ATR 42-500, Berjaya Hotels & Resorts chief executive Hanley Chew said that it was the correct size for the hotel group as the aircraft can take off and land on the runway in Redang island, which is only 1,100 metres long. He added: "The ATR 42 was also selected because this aircraft type is well supported in Malaysia and the wider Asia-Pacific region in terms of spare parts, maintenance support and training programs."
The aircraft will be operated by sister company Berjaya Air.
The hotel group said that in the future, Berjaya Air will explore opportunities to link Redang island to Singapore.