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Avianca takes delivery of its first ATR 72-600

19-Jun-2013 7:19 AM

Avianca took (18-Jun-2013) delivery of the first of 15 ATR 72-600s that it commissioned in late 2012, with the signing of a contract which also included options for 15 more aircraft and which was valued at over USD700 million. The aircraft delivered at the Paris Air Show is configured with 68 seats and is equipped with the new 'Armonia' cabin. With the delivery of this aircraft, Avianca begins an ambitious process of developing and modernising its regional network in Colombia and Central America. Avianca CEO Fabio Villegas Ramirez said: "We are very pleased to begin introducing the ATR 72-600 into our regional fleet. These aircraft will enable us to further increase our service standards while operating our regional routes even more efficiently. Their advantages in terms of passenger comfort, as well as their excellent performance on high-altitude runways perfectly match the requirements of our regional network. They will also enable us to increase our seating offer and reduce operating costs”. ATR CEO Filippo Bagnato said: "Latin America has proven to be a very important market for us recently. We have doubled our presence in this region in the last five years, positioning our aircraft as essential tools for the strong growth in regional traffic. We are particularly proud to be associated with Avianca, a company with a great reputation and prestige, and to be able to place reliability, comfort, low operating costs and low environmental footprints of the ATR 72-600 at the service of their growth in region." Avianca will gradually replace the Fokker 50s and ATR 42s currently in service. The first ATR 72-600 will serve destinations including Barrancabermeja, Florencia, Manizales, Neiva, Pasto, Popayán, Tumaco and Yopal in Colombia. Later, other ATR 72-600s will be used to connect Guatemala City and Flores (Guatemala), Tegucigalpa, Roatán and San Pedro Sula (Honduras), San Salvador (El Salvador), Managua (Nicaragua) as well as San José and Liberia (Costa Rica). Alongside with the introduction of the ATR 72-600s, ATR and Avianca are preparing to jointly set up the first ATR-approved pilot training centre in South America, which will open in the coming months at Avianca facilities in Bogota, Colombia. more - original PR]