(Amakusa Airlines ATR 42-600)
(Photo - ATR)
Japanese regional carrier Amakusa Airlines has taken delivery of its first ATR 42-600, making it the first ATR operator in Japan. ATR has opened a representative office in Tokyo as it seeks to expand its foothold in the Japanese market.
“We are delighted to enter such a major market, one of the few Asian countries where ATR had not flown before,” ATR CEO Patrick de Castelbajac said as the aircraft was handed over in Toulouse.
“Japan, which has a fleet of almost 100 regional aircraft, including some 50 aging turboprops, provides us outstanding commercial opportunities.”
The regional carrier is based in Amakusa, which lies on a small island off the west coast of Kyushu, the most southwesterly of the four main islands that constitute the Japanese mainland. It operates scheduled regional services from Amakusa to cities such as Kumamoto, Fukuoka and Osaka.
Amakusa Airlines will use the 48-seat ATR 42-600 to replace its Bombardier Dash 8-100. It has purchased the 48-seat ATR 42-600 from Denmark-based Nordic Aviation Capital (NAC), the industry’s largest turboprop lessor.
“We have a high level of confidence in the potential of the smaller ATR -600 series as airlines around the world look to replace aging equivalent-sized aircraft, and when they look for a successor as they look to upgrade from smaller capacity aircraft,” NAC chairman Martin Møller said.
“This is why we have consistently added to our ATR order book and we are delighted to offer various financing solutions to our customers, plenty of whom have already shown their interest in the 50-seat variant of the ATR.”
The ATR 42-600 has been outsold in recent years by the ATR 72-600, but NAC has expressed confidence that the smaller variant is still a viable contender in the marketplace.
(Alan Dron - ATWOnline News)