Vietnam Airlines and ATR have inked a contract for the purchase of 6 new ATR 72-500s, valued at over US$ 112 million. With these additional aircraft, and including the aircraft already on order, Vietnam’s flag carrier will expand its fleet of ATR 72-500s up to 14 aircraft by 2010.
Vietnam Airlines started operating ATR aircraft in 1992, and booked previous orders for ‘-500 series’ in 2001 and 2007. Once all the 72-500s are delivered, the modernization of its current ATR fleet, which today counts 7 ATR 72-200s and 3 ATR 72-500s, will be complete.
The airline will take delivery of their 11 ATR 72-500s currently on order between 2009 and 2010, thus standardizing its ATR fleet with the ‘-500 series’. The aircraft will be powered by PW 127M engines and will feature the latest navigation aid and communication tools. The aircraft will also be equipped with the “Elegance” cabin.
Commenting on the deal, Pham Ngoc Minh, President and CEO of Vietnam Airlines, said, “Thanks to the substantial growth of Vietnam’s domestic and within-Indochina aviation markets, the demand for aviation transport services from big cities Hanoi, Danang and Ho Chi Minh city to such tourist destinations as Nha Trang, Dalat, Phu Quoc, Siem Reap, Phnom Penh and Luang Prabang is accelerating rapidly. We strongly believe that with this purchase deal of 6 further ATR 72-500s, we will satisfy the increasing demand for services on short-haul routes, thus contribute to the promotion of tourism - investment - trade relations among regions and between Vietnam and its neighbouring Indochina countries.”
Since the beginning of the programme, ATR has sold 974 aircraft (419 ATR 42s and 555 ATR 72s) and has delivered 802 (401 ATR 42s and 401 ATR 72s), thus posting a current backlog of 172 aircraft.