13 Mar 2014 06:30
Etihad Regional today announced an agreement to lease four ATR 72-500 aircraft, which will see the carrier boost its regional fleet to 12 and support its rapidly expanding network.
four aircraft are scheduled for delivery between April and June 2014, with the
first touching down at Geneva International Airport on 1 April. The airline currently operates a fleet of eight
50-seat Saab 2000 turboprop aircraft.
Regional will configure each aircraft with 68 seats. Passenger comfort will be
second to none thanks to a well-designed cabin and large overhead bins.
The lease of the aircraft was arranged by Nordic
Aviation Capital (NAC),the world’s largest turboprop leasing company
headquartered in Billund, Denmark.
fleet announcement was made at a joint Etihad Regional-ATR media conference
this morning in Lugano, and comes after the Swiss-based airline’srecent
announcement of a number of new routes, several of which have already been launched.
Merlo, Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Regional said: “Today’s announcement
marks the beginning of our new fleet expansion program. It is part of our
strategy of matching our growing network and frequency requirements with the
ATR for this transaction is a logical step.
The ATR aircraft have the lowest seat-mile costs in their class, are
ideally suited for regional operations, can operate in all-weather types, and have
relatively low engine and airframe maintenance costs. The ATR 72-500s are not
only known for their reliability and technology but are also the top-selling
turboprop aircraft on the market.”
Baumgartner, Vice Chairman of Etihad Regional said: “The comfort and
configuration of the new aircraft will help rejuvenate Etihad Regional’s fleet
and further boost its product quality, while enabling the expansion of regional
aircraft will allow Etihad Regional to expand the number of routes it operates,
as they link key European regional towns and cities with the rest of our
network, and with the hubs of Etihad Airways and its equity partners, thus
being a key enabler in improving access for travellers throughout Europe.”
Filippo Bagnato, Chief
Executive Officer of ATR said: “We are delighted that
Etihad Regional has chosen ATR and we are excited to help support the carrier’s
growth plans. With ATR 72-500, Etihad Regional will operate modern aircraft
which not only offer high economic efficiency and exceptional passenger
comfort, but also have minimal impact on the environment.”
Chairman of NAC said:“We are delighted to be working with Etihad Regional in
this period of growth for the airline and look forward to a very productive and
long-term relationship. Our large portfolio of regional aircraft combined with
our knowledge and experience enabled us to quickly respond and deliver a high-quality
fleet leasing solution uniquely tailored to meet the needs of Etihad Regional.”
Regional has already commenced crew recruitment for the four ATR 72-500s, and
expects to hire a total of 40 cabin crew members to operate the new fleet type.
The airline is also hiring 16 captains and16 first-officers, bringing the
airline’s total pilot count to 115.