Alitalia and ATR (Avions de Transport Régional) signed an agreement for purchasing 3 ATR72-500 aircraft to replace 3 ATR42-300s operated by Alitalia Express, the Alitalia Group Regional Transport subsidiary.
The first two aircraft will be delivered in July 1999 while the third will be delivered in December 1999.
The replacement is part of a broad strategy for the future overhaul of the Group regional activity, based on two product lines: Turboprop and Jet.
More specifically, a part of the Group regional activity will be based on ATR72 aircraft from the Turboprop line to be used for short haul feeding activities and traffic operated via airports with limited facilities.
Another part of the Alitalia Express fleet activity will be centred on jet aircraft for point-to-point regional service and quality feeding, in line with the need to counter the growing competitiveness of the main European carriers currently more and more oriented towards that type of aircraft.
Alitalia has thus started a round of meetings with aircraft manufacturers, with a view to purchasing such aircraft types based on the best possible solution to replace the remaining 6 ATR42-300s within its fleet.