Africa’s Air Botswana has received the first of two ATR 72-600 turboprops, with the second due to be delivered before the end of the year.

The Botswana national flag carrier received the first one on Friday in Toulouse, France after signing a contract for the aircraft duo in July. The turboprops will upgrade Air Botswana’s current fleet of three ATR 42-500s and one ATR 72-500. The new aircraft is in a 70-seat, dual-class cabin configuration and equipped with the latest avionics.

Agnes Tsholofelo Khunwana, Air Botswana’s CEO, said: “We have been using ATRs for over 20 years and are very satisfied with their operating results. The latest generation of ATRs will allow us to provide the highest standards of comfort, reliability and eco-efficiency to our customers. The ATR 72-600s have also remarkable performance in terms of fuel consumption and lower CO2 emissions which is an important added-value.”

Stefano Bortoli, ATR’s CEO, said the carrier’s order was “a sign of confidence and we are very proud of that.” There are over 120 ATR aircraft currently flying in Africa, he added.

The 72-600s will both be equipped with the PW127N engine, which features the super-boost option that allows a four-passenger payload benefit from hot and high airfields such as Johannesburg, Gaborone and Maun.

The manufacturer forecasts demand for 300 new turboprops over the next 20 years for Africa and the Middle East.

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