The world’s leading turboprop manufacturer ATR and Papua New Guinea carrier PNG Air today announced a US$ 134 million contract for the firm purchase of five ATR72-600s. The deal represents the conversion into firm orders of five options from a previous deal.
Formerly known as Airlines PNG, PNG Air signed for a total of six firm ATR 72-600s and 14 options in 2014. They started operating their first ATR 72-600 in November 2015. Today, the airline operates four ATR 72-600s and will receive the fifth aircraft before the end of this year. The five new ATR 72-600 aircraft plus an additional one on lease will bring the total ATR fleet to 12 when the last aircraft is delivered in 2022.
The airline is currently undergoing a major transformation plan, with an ambitious fleet renewal and rebranding and a new business strategy focused on the domestic market. PNG Air is also expanding into corporate transportation to support businesses aiming to develop their natural resource activities within Papua New Guinea.
Commenting on the deal, Muralee Siva, Chief Executive Officer of PNG Air, said: “The entry into service of our brand new, modern ATR -600s clearly supports our strategy to transform our business by modernising our fleet and offering Papua New Guinea a new standard of domestic air service that is more comfortable and dependable. We will progressively phase out our previous-generation turboprops to introduce an aircraft that has become a reference on the regional market worldwide
ATR’s Chief Executive Officer, Christian Scherer, commented: “This further proof of confidence from an airline that has recently started operating our ATR -600 is very significant for us. We are proud to contribute to PNG Air’s development strategy by providing them with a flexible, modern and cost-efficient solution for their various operations. The robustness of our new ATR -600s, along with their ability to operate in remote areas, are great assets for the airline.”
ATRs have been the world’s best-selling regional aircraft for the last 6 years, representing some 80% of total turboprop sales. ATRs, and in particular the ATR 72-600, have established themselves as the benchmark for regional operations in Asia and the Pacific. Since 2014, the region has boasted the largest fleet of ATRs in operation anywhere in the world, with more than 370 ATR aircraft flying under the liveries of some 60-plus carriers – a fleet volume that has tripled over the last decade.