Kingfisher Airlines, which placed a firm order for 20 new ATR 72-500s and 15 options in November 2005, yesterday at Asian Aerospace announced conversion of options to a firm order worth $270 million.

At the same time, Indian start-up Kingfisher has taken an additional 20 options on the ATR 72-500. The additional aircraft are scheduled to be delivered from 2007.

Equipped with the “Elegance” cabin, the ATR 72-500 aircraft will also be fitted with the newest technological innovations in the field of communications and navigation aid tools, and in-flight entertainment.

These ATR 72-500s will be used as feeder aircraft on smaller domestic routes to link Kingfisher’s four hubs: Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta and Bangalore.

“Our experience of opening up new routes with Airbus aircraft gives us the confidence that there is a huge latent potential to connect even smaller Indian cities where a lot of wealth resides,” said Dr. Vijay Mallya, chairman and managing director of Kingfisher Airlines.

“These smaller cities also do not suffer from the infrastructural constraints at metro airports. We see an attractive opportunity to also provide feeder services for our Airbus network.  In these days of high fuel prices the ATR 72-500 is ideal for us to exploit these opportunities in the most economical manner.”

“I am delighted with this new mark of confidence from Kingfisher Airlines,” says Filippo Bagnato, ATR chief executive. “This order confirms once again the suitability of ATR aircraft in the Indian regional aviation sector and will also further reinforce our leadership in India. With the ATR 72-500, Kingfisher Airlines will operate state-of-the-art aircraft which combine both jet-like comfort with unmatched operating economics.”

In the Asia-Pacific area, 112 ATRs are operated by 24 airlines.

ATR, which has sold 793 aircraft (398 ATR 42 and 395 ATR 72) since the beginning of the programme, registered 90 firm orders for new aircraft and 26 options in 2005. The Indian market represented an important part of these record sales.
Bagnato says: “This commercial success is evidence of the strong revival of the turboprop aircraft in the regional aviation market.”

ATR currently holds a market share in India of 75% in the 50- to 70-seat regional market and of the turboprop sector the market share is 95%.

Source: Flight Daily News