Posted on: 21 December 2011 by Ross McSweeny
Tanzanian carrier Precision Air Services and ATR have announced the signing of a contract for the airline to purchase four ATR 42-600s and one ATR 72-600 in a deal valued at $98 million.
Delivery of the 50-seat ATR 42-600s will begin in late 2012, while the ATR 72-600 will be delivered in 2014.
With these acquisitions, Precision Air Services will take its fleet of ATRs up to 14, thus becoming the largest operator of ATR aircraft in Africa. The carrier’s current fleet of ATRs includes five ATR 72-500s, two ATR 42-500s and two ATR 42-300s. The five brand new ATR -600 Series aircraft will be used to develop further PAS’s regional network, adding new routes and frequencies to its domestic market.
Commenting on the deal, Michael Shirima, chairman of the Precision Air Services’ board of directors declared, “We have been operating ATR aircraft for years, and we are totally convinced of their suitability for our regional routes. The ATRs are perfectly adapted to the hot climate in Africa, and feature optimal performance in smaller airfields and unpaved runways. Also, they provide us the lowest operating costs, thus strongly contributing to the development of regional aviation in our country.”
Alfonse Kioko, group managing director and CEO of Precision Air, added, "The very low fuel burn and the high dispatch reliability of the ATR aircraft, are helping us to maintain the level of ticket price necessary for the very strong competition in our market".
In 2006 ATR and Precision Air Services set up a partnership for certified aeronautical maintenance training for some selected Tanzanian students. Each student spends three years being trained at the Aeronautical Technical School in Toulouse, France, and then joins Precision Air Services’ maintenance crew in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. So far, 12 students have already completed their training and joined the airline. A further 24 students are currently being trained.
ATR currently has 110 aircraft in operation and on order with African and Middle East carriers and is established in 25 countries of the region.