Thai airline Bangkok Airways has signed a contract to buy four ATR 72-600 turboprops in a deal valued at over US$100 million.

The carrier, in the midst of modernising its current fleet of 15 ATRs, signed up in a ceremony at the Singapore Airshow. Its fleet consists of nine ATR 72-600s and six 72-500s, with the latter being progressively replaced with the new 72-600s. Deliveries of the four new aircraft in a 70-seat configuration will take place between October 2018 and March 2019.

The airline has ramped up its ATR regional fleet from eight in early 2014 to the current number to serve its domestic and regional network.

The manufacturer said the airline was “a very good example of the suitability of the ATR aircraft for short-haul and inter-island operations in South East Asia. ATR aircraft feature the lowest operating costs and the greenest credentials among all regional aircraft of their seat category. They have been, by far, the preferred choice of South East Asian carriers in the last decade. Since 2007, the number of ATRs operating in ASEAN countries has multiplied by five, from 50 to nearly 250.”

Christophe Clarenc, senior vice-president, technical at the airline, said the aircraft “have proven, for years, to be the right aircraft to create new routes and efficiently expanding regional networks.

Christian Scherer, ATR’s CEO, added that his company had “experienced a dramatic growth in Asia over the last decade, and Bangkok Airways has strongly contributed to this success not only with the expansion of their fleet of ATRs, but also because they are a benchmark when it comes to developing networks with eco-efficient and versatile aircraft.”

More globally, the ATR aircraft created last year some 70 new routes in Asian countries, generating over one million of 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”.

Bangkok Airways operates around 100 daily flights from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport to more than 20 destinations across Thailand and Asia.


ATR 42-500 deal

In a second contract, ATR also confirmed two pre-owned ATR 42-500s are being bought by Berjaya Hotels & Resorts, which it will use to launch air services to the Malaysian holiday island of Redang where the hotel group has two resorts. The aircraft will fly from Kuala Lumpur’s Subang Airport to Redang Island.

Berjaya Hotels & Resorts CEO, Hanley Chew, said the company chose the ATR 42 “because it is the right size aircraft for our needs and it can take off and land on short runways. The airport runway on Redang Island is only 1,100 metres long, so the ATR 42’s capabilities on short runways are very important.”

The two aircraft will be reconfigured with 36 passenger seats, with services to launch in June operated by its sister company Berjaya Air.

The plan is also for Berjaya Air to eventually launch services linking Redang island to Singapore.