Bangkok Airways received the first of nine new ATR 72-600s in Toulouse on 26 November.

The Thai boutique carrier plans to sell the five ATR 72-500s it owns when it completes its turboprop renewal programme with the new ATR 72-600 model.

The incoming 72-seat turboprops will progressively replace the Thai regional carrier's existing fleet of eight ATR 72-500s, of which three are leased.

"We plan to operate a total of nine ATR 72-600s in our fleet. The first unit is additional, while the next eight deliveries will replace the -500s," said Bangkok Airways president Puttipong Prasarttong-Osoth in an interview with Flightglobal.

The airline's eight ATR 72-500s comprise seven built between 2001 and 2004 and one manufactured in 2008.

"We plan to return the leased aircraft upon lease expiry, while we will sell the remaining five units," says Puttipong.

Bangkok ATR 72-600

The youngest ATR 72-500s will leave the fleet in 2017.

The delivery of the ATR 72-600 is a continuation of the 20-year relationship between the carrier and the manufacturer. Since 1994, Bangkok Airways has operated the ATR 72-200, -210 and -500 series, and now operate the -600 model.

The first ATR 72-600, MSN 1194, will be financed under a 12-year ECA-guaranteed loan fronted by SACE and Coface, jointly arranged by HSBC and French bank Credit Agricole Corporate & Investment Bank.

HSBC is to finance a total of four deliveries, including the first, while Credit Agricole CIB is mandated for the second and fourth examples of the type.

The airline also operates 10 Airbus A319s and eight A320s, Flightglobal's Ascend Fleets database shows.