Lonrho plans big ATR purchase

Lonrho Air has signed a MoU for the purchase of 8 ATR 72-500s.The aircraft will be operated by Fly540, an airline belonging to the conglomerate. The deal, which includes a comprehensive support and spares package, is valued at over US$ 150 million.

The aircraft will be configured with 66 seats, including 12 in first class, and will be equipped with PW 127M engines, with the “Elegance Cabin” and with In-Flight Entertainment. The 8 new ATRs will also feature state-of-the-art technological innovations in the field of communications and navigation aid tools. The deliveries of these aircraft are scheduled for 2008 and 2009.

Lonrho’s Fly540, is developing an expanding aviation network across Africa, providing much needed air transportation at international standards of comfort and service. Fly540 will be operating in eight African countries in early 2008 and these new aircraft will allow the airline to continue its rapid expansion to develop its network linking African countries with quality regional service.

Commenting on the deal, Lonrho’s Chairman David Lenigas, said, “We are delighted that we have been able to agree on the purchase of eight new aircraft from ATR to expand our existing ATR fleet. We have been impressed with the ATRs that we currently operate. We are confident that these new ATR 72-500 aircraft will provide the lowest engine and airframe maintenance costs and fuel costs of any other aircraft in this market, whilst providing state of the art avionics and new aircraft reliability and safety. When operated on appropriate routes, it provides an excellent competitive advantage to our business.”