(Toulouse, December 3, 2007) -- ATR and Air Vanuatu today announced the signature of a contract for the purchase of the first ATR 72-500 for the airline.
This 70-seat aircraft will be equipped with 120-minutes ETOPS (Extended Range Twin-engine Operations) capability, the "Elegance" cabin, higher rated PW 127M engines, as well as state-of-the-art technological innovations in passenger comfort, communications and navigation aid tools. The aircraft will be delivered in 2009.
Since 2004, the airline has operated an ATR 42-300 for its principal domestic routes, linking the capital city Port Vila to the islands of Santo and Tanna, as well as regular flights to Noumea, New Caledonia. With its new ATR 72-500, Air Vanuatu will be able to face the increasing demand on its regional network. Furthermore, the unique ETOPS 120 capability offered with the ATR 72-500 will enable Air Vanuatu to develop its international network with flights to the surrounding Islands such as Fiji and the Solomon Islands.
Commenting on the deal, Terry Kerr, Air Vanuatu CEO, stated: "We are very satisfied with the service given by our ATR 42-300. Now, the time has come to meet our growth by adding an ATR 72-500, featuring larger capacity and enhanced comfort and performance both in our domestic and international operations."
Stephane Mayer, ATR CEO, declared: "The ETOPS 120-rated ATRs enable the airlines to expand their networks while reducing the length of the flights, the fuel burn and the CO2 emissions. We are extremely pleased that Air Vanuatu thus renewed their confidence in our company and product. The airline is now joining the growing community of ATR -500 operators in the South Pacific area, which already includes Air New Zealand, Air Tahiti, Air Caledonie, Air Pacific and MacAir Airlines in Australia".