ATR and the Caribbean carrier Leeward Islands Air Transport Services (LIAT) today announced the signature of an agreement for the purchase of a total of three 48-seats ATR 42-600s.
The deal also includes options for two 68-seat ATR 72-600, and is valued at over US$ 100 million. LIAT will take delivery of their very first ATR 42-600 in June 2013.
With the arrival of these aircraft from ATR, plus additional ATR -600s under discussion from leasing companies, LIAT will progressively replace its current fleet of former turboprop aircraft. The airline currently operates a fleet of 14 aircraft over its Caribbean network, which includes main hubs at Antigua, Barbados and Trinidad, and destinations –among others-, in Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, St.Marteen, Guadeloupe, Dominica, Martinique St.Lucia and St.Vincent.
This deal demonstrates again that the ATR 42 and ATR 72 aircraft family is the preferred option for inter-island operations worldwide due to their unrivalled economic performance on shorter routes and their ability to operate into small, short airfields. Today, ATR aircraft are successfully operated in archipelagos like French Polynesia, the Philippines, Canary Islands, Cape Verde, Maldives and the Caribbean region, as well as in countries with important amount of inter-island operations, such as Indonesia and Malaysia. LIAT will benefit from the very low operating and maintenance costs of the new ATR -600 series aircraft.
Commenting on this new contract, Ian Brunton, Chief Executive Officer of LIAT, declared: “We are pleased to become a new member of the ATR family and to start operating aircraft which have largely proven their efficiency and performances on the type of routes we propose. The aircraft of our modern fleet will feature the most advanced cabin interiors and standards of comfort, while being extremely respectful of the environment, a matter of considerable concern to us at LIAT”.
Filippo Bagnato, Chief Executive Officer of ATR, declared: “The ATR -600 series aircraft perfectly match the requirements of the airlines operating inter-island flights. Their outstanding performance and reliability on this type of routes clearly explains their success in recent years in the Caribbean region, where we have sold new ATR -600s to a number of airlines. We are honoured to see that LIAT, after a thorough and rigorous evaluation, has chosen to switch to ATR -600s and benefit from the many advantages of the most modern family of regional aircraft in the market”.