European turboprop manufacturer ATR has handed over the first ATR 72-600 to launch customer Royal Air Maroc (RAM).

The delivery, on 16 August, coincided with the first ever flight test of an ATR aircraft 27 years ago.

RAM announced an order for two ATR 42-600s and four ATR 72-600s aircraft, plus options for two additional ATR 72-600s in 2009 for its subsidiary Royal Air Maroc Express.

The second aircraft is scheduled for delivery on 19 August in an official ceremony in Toulouse.

ATR received European Aviation Safety Agency certification for its ATR 72-600 in May, two years after it began flight testing. The certification process validated several new features in the ATR design including its "glass cockpit" avionics, plus upgraded communications and flight management systems. The -600 is fitted with higher-power Pratt & Whitney PW127M engines and also includes a redesigned passenger cabin.

Since launching the new -600 programme in October 2007, ATR has received orders for 170 aircraft, including five ATR 42-600s and 165 ATR 72-600s.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news