Malaysia agrees ATR deal

ATR and Malaysia Airlines have signed a deal, consisting of a contract and an MoU, for the purchase of 20 ATR 72-500s.Based on the agreement, Firefly and MASwings, the two fully owned subsidiaries of MAS, will operate 10 ATRs each. The contract, for the 10 ATRs of Firefly, includes options for 10 additional aircraft, while the MoU, for the 10 aircraft of MASwings, includes options for 5 additional ATRs.

This major deal, valued at some US$ 650 million including options for both subsidiaries of MAS, was signed by YM Tengku Azmil Zahruddin, Executive Director and Chief Finance Officer of Malaysia Airlines and St├ęphane Mayer, ATR CEO.

These 20 new aircraft will feature state-of-the-art technological innovations in passenger comfort, communications and navigation tools. Firefly will take delivery of its first ATR aircraft in 2008, while the first ATR for MASwings will be delivered in 2009.

The ATR 72-500s of Firefly, configured with 72 seats and featuring the “Elegance Cabin”, are intended for the expansion of its network, as the airline establishes its hubs in Kuala Lumpur (Subang), Penang, Johor Bahru and Kota Kinabalu whilst it progressively replaces its current Fokker 50 aircraft.

With its new 68-seat ATR 72-500s, MASwings - the “Wings of Borneo” - will expand its services in the states of Sabah and Sarawak, well-known tourist destinations in East Malaysia.

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Eddy Leong, CEO of Firefly said, “Selecting the ‘-500 series’ ATR aircraft we have done the right choice to face the growth of our regional operations with brand new aircraft featuring the highest standards of comfort available in the regional aviation sector as well as unrivalled performance in the short-haul routes.”

“Besides its unbeatable economics, the ATR aircraft are able to land on very short runways, and burn some 50% less of fuel than a regional jet. We are also pleased to operate such an environmental friendly aircraft.”

Dr. Amin Khan, Managing Director of MASwings added, “We too have full confidence in the ATR aircraft that will be a strong catalyst to accelerate the growth of our network in East Malaysia. The ‘-500 series’ is well reputed worldwide for its impressive safety record and is also a very reliable aircraft, featuring the lowest cost per passenger and the lowest levels of noise and vibrations inside the cabin.”

Since the beginning of the year, ATR has received orders for 88 new aircraft, some of them not yet unveiled. Since the beginning of the programme, ATR has sold 925 aircraft (416 ATR 42s and 509 ATR 72s) and has delivered 746 (396 ATR 42s and 350 ATR 72s), thus posting a current backlog of 179 aircraft.
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