Air Botswana has taken delivery of its first new ATR 72-500 following deal for two the aircraft inked last year and valued at some US$ 37 million.
With its new ATR 72-500s, configured with 68-seats and equipped with the “Elegance Cabin” and In-Flight Entertainment, Air Botswana will be able to respond to the growth of the air transport demand in the country by increasing the passenger capacity of its current fleet of 3 ATR 42-500s.
The airline will fly its new ATR turboprops on routes previously operated by regional jets that become unprofitable.
Commenting on the delivery, L.M. Bantsi, Acting General Manager of Air Botswana, said, “The introduction of these new ATR 72-500 aircraft responds to our need to increase our route coverage and to provide more frequencies to our passengers. There is a strong development of the regional air transportation in Botswana and we are committed to match this opportunity with larger capacity ATRs.”
“We are very satisfied with the reliability and the performance of the ATR 42-500s we already fly. The ATR ‘-500 series’, with their ability to operate in hot and high environments are optimally adapted to our needs.”
“The relations of Air Botswana with ATR have existed for the past 20 years, and are now further enhanced by the acquisition of the two ATR 72-500 aircraft to be delivered today and in May 2009. Indeed, this is a long and fruitful experience and we expect to continue with ATR for many years to come,” added Mr. Bantsi.
Stéphane Mayer, ATR CEO, said, “The ATR aircraft are playing an important role in the development of the regional air connectivity in the whole African continent. We count today more than 80 aircraft being operated by some 25 carriers. This reflects the suitability of the ATR aircraft for some specific operating conditions in the continent, including hot and high environments and small and remote airfields.
“Since the beginning of the programme, ATR has sold 979 aircraft (420 ATR 42s and 559 ATR 72s).”