Brazil's TRIP in talks for another batch of ATRs: chief

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Brazilian carrier TRIP Linhas Aereas is in discussions with ATR to expand its turboprop fleet, following the latest delivery to the airline by the European airframer.

Speaking to ATI during a ceremony in Toulouse marking the 900th ATR delivery, TRIP chief Jose Mario Caprioli said the Brazilian regional carrier was looking to expand services next year in small- and medium-sized markets.

Caprioli says the Brazilian market is growing at 15% and the carrier will end the year with 3.8 million passengers.

TRIP says it will transport 70-75% more passengers in 2011 and, to address this capacity growth, Caprioli says the carrier will have to add 11 ATR aircraft to its fleet.

"We plan to increase our turboprop fleet with six ATR 72s and five ATR 42s by the end of 2011," he says. "The additional aircraft can be used or new and we are in negotiations with ATR on how to address our fleet requirements."

TRIP received the 900th ATR aircraft yesterday. The airline is the second-largest ATR customer with 30 aircraft.

Caprioli says TRIP will receive the final ATR 72-500 aircraft from its order book next week, as well two ATR 42-500s on lease in the final quarter of this year. "By the end of 2010, we will operate a 33-ATR aircraft fleet," he says.

He says part of the latest discussion with ATR involves the -600 series. "Our 2011 fleet strategy plan mainly involves the -500 series but growing plans, for 2012 and beyond, also include the -600 models," he says. Caprioli hopes to conclude negotiations within 45 days.