(Toulouse, June 4, 2009) -- Nigerian carrier Afrijet Airlines and ATR today announced the signature of a HoA (Heads of Agreement) for the purchase of 4 ATR 72-500s, in a deal worth US $ 80 million. The agreement was inked on the occasion of the official visit to Nigeria of the French Prime Minister, Mr. Francois Fillon, and in the presence of the Nigerian Minister of Aviation, Mr. Babatunde Omotoba. With the signature for these 68-seat aircraft, Afrijet becomes a new ATR customer and the third to operate ATRs in Nigeria. Almost 70 ATRs are operated today in Africa by 23 airlines.
These PW 127M powered ATR 72-500s will feature the ATR's Elegance Cabin and In-Flight Entertainment. With its brand new fleet of ATR 72-500 aircraft, Afrijet Airlines will reinforce its domestic network and expand its regional operations to the surrounding area with aircraft well-reputed for their very high dispatch reliability, over 99.5%, and their flexibility to operate on short airfields. With the ATR 72-500s, the airline will also benefit from the most modern technologies and the lowest fuel consumption and operating costs of the regional aircraft.
Commenting on this order, Captain William Berry Noelle, Managing Director of Afrijet Airlines, stated: "These new ATR 72-500s will allow us to introduce the most modern regional aircraft into our fleet and to propose to our passengers state-of-the-art standards of comfort. We'll be pleased to further develop our regional network with aircraft which have clearly proven their suitability for the operations in the hot and demanding African environment. With their PW 127M engines, the ATR 72-500s, are in the right position to provide us great performance." He added: "We need aircraft that can ensure the lowest operating costs given the current economic environment, and for ensuring our long term success in the future even in the face of expected future increases in fuel costs. We are convinced that the ATRs will strongly contribute to the growth of our airline".
Stephane Mayer, ATR Chief Executive Officer, underlined "the confidence shown by Afrijet Airlines in the ATR aircraft. For the first time they will be introducing turboprops into their fleet, and will benefit from the many advantages of our aircraft, both in operating costs and performance, and also in terms of environmental friendliness. Since 2005, we have sold almost 40 ATRs in the continent, while significantly expanding our list of ATR -500 series operators in Africa." He added: "Afrijet Airlines is making a significant investment in its regional network during a particularly difficult economic context. This shows the confidence of the airline in the further development of the regional connectivity in Nigeria and the surrounding area. We are glad to be associated with their ambitious project."
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