Korean start-up Hi Air has purchased two ATR 72-500s from the turboprop manufacturer.

ATR says the out-of-production aircraft will be supplied from its asset management portfolio and join Hi Air’s existing fleet of two ATR 72-500s in August and October

The additional aircraft are part of a domestic network expansion during the summer season with five new routes, the airframer adds.

Cirium fleets data shows that the ATR 72-500s already in Hi Air’s fleet were built in 2008 and 2009, and are owned by the airline. Both were originally delivered to Air Tahiti and operated by that carrier until 2019.

Hi Air launched in December 2019.

The Ulsan-based airline’s chief executive, HyungKwan Youn, states that selecting the ATR 72 as a launch aircraft was “important for Hi Air’s early success” and has paved the way to grow its operations now.

ATR argues that Hi Air’s expansion “at this time… illustrates the resilience of the regional aviation market which is likely to make a faster recovery”.

The airframer’s senior vice-president commercial, Fabrice Vautier, states that ATR turboprops have “the right blend of economics and operational versatility”.

He adds: “With their advantage in fuel burn and CO2 emissions, they are the perfect solution to help aviation emerge from this global recovery as a more sustainable industry