Lao Airlines signs order for 2 ATR 72-600s
On the occasion of the Farnborough Airshow, the European turboprop aircraft manufacturer ATR and the Vientiane-based carrier Lao Airlines announced the signature of a contract for the purchase of 2 ATR 72-600s; valued at US$ 47 million upon catalogue price. These two new aircraft will be added to Lao Airlines’ current fleet of 4 ATR 72-500s. The airline is in the midst of expanding its fleet in order to increase frequency on existing routes and to open new destinations in the surrounding region. The arrival of these 2 70-seat ATR 72-600s will help the airline to maintain its position as the preferred premium airline in Laos.
The ATR 72-600 will be equipped with a new full-glass cockpit and new Giugiaro-designed cabin interiors, and will be powered by PW 127M engines. In addition to the performance advantages that these engines provide, the ATR 72-600 features enhanced comfort and baggage space for the passengers, and improved operational flexibility for the airline. Deliveries of these 2 aircraft will take place late in 2012 and in 2013.
The President of Lao Airlines, Dr Somphone Douangdara declared: “The acquisition of these two aircraft aims at maintaining a modern fleet and upgrading the level of onboard services. In addition to superb services, the airline saves time and money by having a young fleet. With the ATR 72-600’s operational reliability and cabin comfort, we want to offer better access for the Laotian travelling public and make them feel easy to fly”. He added that “these new airplanes will be introduced at an important stage to meet the growing demand of the transport and tourism sectors”.
“This is another important milestone in our long-standing partnership with Lao Airlines, and we are pleased to keep on contributing to the growth of this prestigious Asian carrier”, commented ATR’s Chief Executive Officer, Filippo Bagnato. “The new ATR -600s have become very popular in Asia. We expect that the many advantages of these aircraft, also in terms of low operating costs, will contribute to further expand regional air traffic in Laos”.