On the occasion of the LIMA Airshow, ATR and Malaysia Airlines (MAS) today inked a deal, consisting in a contract and a 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 inked by YM Tengku Azmil Zahruddin, Executive Director and Chief Finance Officer of Malaysia Airlines and Stéphane Mayer, ATR CEO. The Honourable Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dato'Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak, Dato' Sri Chan Kong Choy, Malaysia's Minister of Transport, as well as board members of Malaysia Airlines, Firefly and MASwings witnessed the signing ceremony.
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 also 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.
Commenting on the signing ceremony, Eddy Leong, CEO of Firefly declared: "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". He added: "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 said, "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". He further added, "We chose the ATR aircraft as we need to consolidate our young carrier with a fleet of modern aircraft offering optimal performance and highest comfort in the regional market".
Stéphane Mayer stated: "We are delighted to sign this major deal with MAS because of the confidence they have shown in our aircraft. We are also proud to add such two important carriers as Firefly and MASwings to our growing list of Asian operators. Our aircraft are very successful in the Asian region, with more than 20 carriers operating some 120 ATRs and a backlog around 100 additional aircraft". He concluded: "Today's signatures will allow us to enter for the first time the Malaysian market, which has a very strong potential for the ATR family of aircraft".
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.
Source: Malaysia Airlines acquires 20 ATR 72-500s for Firefly and MASwings
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