Air Vanuatu Takes Delivery of New ATR 72-500

(Toulouse, October 8, 2009) -- Air Vanuatu today accepted delivery of the new ATR 72-500, from the order announced last year at the Singapore Air Show and valued at US $ 20.5 million. The aircraft, configured with 68 seats and powered by PW 127M engines, will enable the airline to increase its domestic fleet passenger capacity and to respond to the traffic growth on regional routes. Thanks to the unique ETOPS 120-minutes (Extended Range Twin-engine Operations) capability of the ATR -500 series aircraft, Air Vanuatu will be able to enhance its regional operations to the neighboring countries of New Caledonia and Fiji. The airline has operated an ATR 42-300 since 2004, mainly on domestic routes linking the capital Port Vila to the islands of Santo and Tanna, as well as on regular flights to Noumea, New Caledonia. Commenting on this first delivery, Joseph Laloyer, Air Vanuatu acting Chief Executive Officer, stated: "With the introduction of our new ATR 72-500 we will be able to provide much-needed extra capacity on our trunk domestic routes and to enhance our network in the South West Pacific, while offering new levels of comfort to our passengers". He added: "We are proud of adding the new generation ATR 72-500 into our fleet, because it features the most advantageous performance and operating costs, and because it will provide us a key support in our aim of reducing the environmental impact of our operations". He concluded: "The unique 120-minutes ETOPS capability of the ATR -500s will enable us to reduce the length of our flights, thus saving time and money, while preserving our pristine environment". Stephane Mayer, Chief Executive Officer of ATR, declared: "We are delighted to deliver today this new ATR aircraft to Air Vanuatu, the national airline of the Republic of Vanuatu. This delivery symbolizes the success of our excellent relationship built on mutual trust and understanding. With the arrival of this new aircraft, Air Vanuatu is joining the club of the ATR '-500 series' operators in the South Pacific, which are now operating a combined fleet of 7 ATR 42-500s and 21 ATR 72-500s. These 28 ATR '-500s' flying in the South Pacific provide good opportunities for increasing the cooperation in aircraft operations and maintenance activities across the region". He concluded: "Our aircraft, because of their ability to operate to small airfields and short runways, are optimally adapted to the interisland networks".
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Source: ATR
Date: Oct 9, 2009